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How Dads are Managing Work-Life Conflict

Here's some good news for Fathers Day: 84 percent of the dads who got laid off within the past year say they've found new jobs. But it seems the recession has been a sobering experience nonetheless. Dads are more stressed about work-life balance, bringing more work home, and say they would be less willing to give up their breadwinner roles even if it were financially feasible, according to CareerBuilder's annual Fathers Day survey.

The study, which polled 800 dads working full-time and living with children under 18, also found that:

  • Men are valuing the role of 'breadwinner' more highly. Five years ago, 44 percent of dads said they would quit their jobs if their wife made enough money to support the family. This year, only 33 percent of dads said they'd voluntarily leave their jobs.
  • Dads are working longer. This year, 22 percent of dads said they work more than 50 hours a week, slightly more than the 19 percent who said so last year.
  • Work and family are colliding. Some 34 percent said they'd missed two or more events that were significant to their kids this year because of work. More than one in five, or 21 percent, say they believe work demands have had a negative impact on their children.
Another survey, from Boston College's Center for Work and Family, shows just how hard it is for dads to "have it all"-a satisfying career and a satisfying home life. That study polled 1,000 men working at Fortune500 companies.

According to that research:

  • Most dads do not cut back on their work hours after their children are born. Some 96 percent said they were expected to do the same work as they had before becoming parents, and 3 percent said that more was expected of them. Only 6 percent negotiated flexible work arrangements after their children were born.
  • Dads don't take much paternity leave. More than 75 percent of dads take off one week or less after the birth of a child. That could be because, after becoming parents, men say security is the most important thing they need in a job-with high salaries and opportunities for advancement being pushed aside.
Do you think it's harder for men to balance work and family than it is for women? Dads, what do you think?


Image courtesy flickr user TKTK
Kimberly Weisul is a freelance writer, editor, and editorial consultant. Follow her on twitter at