NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The best gift for Dad this Father’s Day might simply be more time.
The vast majority of fathers who work white-collar jobs want to share the responsibilities of raising their children while simultaneously seeking to advance their careers, but as one new survey shows, most struggle to balance the two.
Researchers at Boston College surveyed nearly 1,000 fathers who work at Fortune 500 companies and have at least one child 18 or younger and found that 65% of them believe both parents should have an equal role in raising the children. However, just as many admit that their spouse actually plays a larger role in caregiving.
Part of the problem seems to be that these fathers are either expected to put in more hours at the office, or perhaps more likely, they are hesitant to put in fewer hours.
Two-thirds of those surveyed say they work more than 45 hours a week and one in five put in more than 55 hours. What’s more, their work schedules and obligations rarely change after the birth of a child. Just 6% of fathers said they were able to negotiate a “flexible work arrangement” to better accommodate the needs of a newborn child, and some actually felt that their bosses expected even more from them following their child’s birth.
If that’s not enough, the survey also shines a light on how seldom and short paternity leave is for working men. More than three-quarters took off just one week or less after the birth of their child, while less than 10% managed to score more than two weeks of leave.
All of this has likely contributed to men struggling more than women to balance their families and their work lives. As the researchers point out in the report, roughly 60% of men said they experienced work/life conflict in 2008, almost double the percentage who did 30 years prior, whereas the percentage of women who experience this conflict has stayed relatively stagnant at about 40%.
For those men who struggle to balance family and work, there are plenty of companies who offer flexible schedules and other perks to make it a little easier on them. But at the end of the day, it may fall on the dads out there to be more firm in the office about what boundaries exist between their work lives and their personal lives.
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