The ups and downs of life as a modern day Dad
Father’s Day is just around the corner…
Before my first child was born, I remember someone saying to me ‘life will never be the same again after you’ve had children’. And how right they were. But it was a huge change for both me and my husband, although it sometimes seems as though the world puts all the focus on new mums, forgetting the new dads.
Why? Because the changes brought on by parenthood affect both parents. No more late-night binges, exotic holidays or lying in bed until you feel like getting up - that’s in all in the past. Life becomes governed by the needs of a very small and beautiful new being. I know I found it hard adjusting to a different life - and my husband did too.
The changing role of fathers
The role of being a father has evolved greatly since I was a child, when my father was very much ‘Head of the Household’. I don’t think he ever ventured into the kitchen - he certainly never, ever changed a nappy! His focus was on his career and financially supporting the family, while Mum looked after everything else. There were clear demarcations between their roles, which they (and the rest of society) clearly understood
Moving on 50 years, dads now find they are dealing with the same challenges as mums; juggling a career with the expectations of being a hands-on parent, adjusting to the radical changes in lifestyle, plus managing a change in the relationship with their partner. The demarcations between the roles of mothers and fathers are blurred, with shared responsibility across all areas - and this can lead to a degree of confusion for fathers. Underpinning this is in a recent report* by Deloitte and online forum Daddilife into the challenges facing modern working day dads aged between 24 and 40, ‘Dads are increasingly putting fatherhood in front of careers, or at least accepting the need for a better balance between work and home life after the birth of a child’.
The Roundabout of Doubts
In fact, they can get caught on what I call “a roundabout of doubts”. Dads are torn between wanting to spend time with their children and play an important role in their lives, at the same time as focusing on career progression. And they end up doubting themselves, asking ‘Am I spending enough time with the children?’, ‘Am I being a good Dad?’, ‘Am I taking my tiredness and frustrations out on them?’.
Of the 2000 Dads interviewed in the ‘The Millennial Dad at Work’ report, 37% admitted their mental health is negatively affected as a result of trying to balance work and parental responsibilities.
Notoriously men stand back and don’t ask for help, even when they aren’t coping, because it’s perceived as being weak. But seeking help and talking things through can be invaluable - women have been doing it for centuries and benefiting from the support they gain from sharing their anxieties and concerns.
Is the road ahead clear?
Are you navigating fatherhood with more ups than downs, or is the route unclear and you feel slightly lost? I’d love to know what you find are the biggest issues of being a modern-day father and how you’re managing the expectations that come with the role.
And if you’re further down the road and found some short cuts on your journey, please share them…there are lots of dads who’d like to know!
*You can download the report at - https://www.daddilife.com/the-millennial-dad-at-work/