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MODERN PARENTING IS BALANCING WORK AND FAMILY LIFE AS A DAD

MODERN PARENTING IS BALANCING WORK AND FAMILY LIFE AS A DAD
Reading Time: 6 minutes

More dads are opting to stay at home and care for their children. It’s becoming much more common for dads to take care of the family.

The role of a dad has changed! Dads today play a more active role in raising, caring and running a home. With the changing role of dads, have come new challenges as dads juggle the competing demands of family and work. There’s always a feeling of being rushed and not dropping any balls. 

There’s also a shift in many workplaces, where corporates are taking into account that dads too need time off to care for their children. Companies are updating their paternity leave policies to include paid leave, in some instances equal to maternity leave, and paid time-off for single and gay dads becoming parents either through adoption or surrogacy here in South Africa.

DEPRESSION AND DADS

While postpartum depression is synonymous with mothers, dads can also experience depression or anxiety after a new baby, sometimes going unnoticed and seldom treated. If you do feel depressed, anxious or overwhelmed with stress, please seek support – reach out to support groups in your area or counselling with your church Pastor or doctor.

We asked some dads how they are balancing work and family life. Thank you, Arno, Francois and Darren for taking time off your busy schedules and sharing how you balance life as amazing dads.

 

DARREN

Darren and JI was very close to my dad and as a result, I had an awesome childhood growing up with my dad as my anchor, mentor and rock who I could always turn to when life got heavy, confusing, scary or when I simply needed to hear that everything was going to be OK. My dad always seemed to have everything under control and never ever seemed phased or concerned or worried about anything. Thinking back, he set such a good example of what a great dad should be that it overwhelmed me and it seemed such an impossible task that I decided at an early age that it was simply too complicated and difficult to be a good dad that I would rather not try.

Imagine my consternation when hubby announced that he wanted to be a dad and that we should pursue the surrogacy option. We settled on adoption for reasons documented in this blog previously, so I won’t go into that here. Reaching this decision was difficult, challenging, overwhelming and filled me with anxiety but now 10 years later, it was undoubtedly the best decision I have ever made. 

Hubby and  I have settled into the most amazing routine with our son making the balancing act between work and life, quality family time vs quality me time, pretty easy to manage. Granted my son is older now and does a lot for himself by himself, but looking back, we made it through an unchartered first 10 years simply because we shared responsibilities and parenting a child 50 / 50 using the awareness of our strengths and weaknesses as dads by backing each other up when perhaps we weren’t as tolerant, dependable or calm as we could have been. I love that we have always been able to make sure that our son has a parent to console and support him when one of his dads was upset with him or had to discipline him. We’ve made a point of always ensuring that he can come to either of us for some comfort, love, understanding and support when he needs it. As we enter the next exciting phase of this parenting journey, I know that we are both excited to leverage our own personal experiences as teenagers and young adults as we support our son to become the best version of himself irrespective of where his heart and feet decide to take him. 

The balancing act is most definitely an inherent life skill that can’t be taught, read up on or googled. It comes from within where love resides and it manifests as one happy family. 

 

ARNO 

Arno and FamilyObviously, a lot changed when we became dads. I tried to still remain true to myself, being creative, and fun, and living a life with care and love. These are the characteristics that I’d like to teach my child. The biggest change in our lifestyle as parents is how we spend our time. It’s no longer just your own time, you have to divide it up between your child and your partner yet keep a little for yourself too. My partner and I are very hands-on in raising our son. I mean, we are both very active in all our responsibilities where our son is concerned. 

As a medical doctor, my partner has a rough work schedule. So when one has a rough day or week, the other one stands in and takes on a little bit more and so we rotate. Supporting each other is crucial.

We are routine parents, so we raise our son with a set routine. I’m a bit of a planning geek. I create a monthly ‘responsibilities‘ list that includes things like; While I make dinner, my partner and son set the table and clean the play area. He takes our son for his bath while I prepare for the next school day. Time management is everything! Plan ahead so that you can have a healthy work and family time balance. We both look at our schedules to see when we are both free and use that time for a special family trip. 

Parenting is everything I expected, with the good and bad days. But I love giving my time and energy to my family. We’ve just gone through the terrible 2 phase with our son, which can add extra stress to the relationship. When I’m stressed and irritated, my partner sees this and steps in and takes over. That is crucial. Good communication and support each is key to successful parenting.

Life as a dad is an adventure that we both love and would not give it up for anything. I appreciate the love and support from my partner during this amazing adventure.

 

FRANCOIS

Francois and familyBefore becoming a dad I was a bit of a party animal, to be honest. Hayley (wife) and I got married when I was 29, so I had done all the partying and was happy to enjoy a more chilled lifestyle. Played golf most weekends with my mates and we would have braais and eat out with friends a lot.

When I became a dad, I became a bit of a recluse. Nothing matters more than spending time with my family. I am happiest when I`m at home.  I don`t play golf anymore apart from a golf day in the week here or there. I would rather spend the 5 hours with my kids than walk around a golf course on the weekend. The kids love a good braai, so that is basically what we do every weekend. Honestly, I don’t miss my pre-dad life. 

We try to split the work as far as possible. Unfortunately, I leave for work before 6:00 in the morning, so Hayley does the school drop-off and pick-up most days. I try and balance things up over the weekend.

My relationship with my dad is not something I remember too fondly. He suffered from depression, and it was very tough on the whole family but he was especially hard on me. I am probably way too soft and lenient on my kids but I do everything in my power to make sure they are happy. Nothing matters more than that. I use all the negative things that happened to me to make sure they don’t experience the same things.

Hayley is a great support and helps me maintain balance as a working dad and my role in the family. She’s the most amazing mom any kid could ask for. The effort she puts into holidays like Christmas and Easter is incredible. I`m not sure where she comes up with all the ideas but one thing is for sure, the kids love every second of the special memories Hayley creates for us as a family.

 

As a dad are you managing to balance your work and family life? Do you manage to leave work at work, and focus on your family when at home?

Balancing your work and family life is not the easiest task, but one you can do and the rewards are very much worth the effort. The key is that you as a dad and your parenting partner keep communication lines open and identify together solutions that function well for you both. 

 

 

photo source: featured dads and Pixabay

About The Author

Manii

Parenting and Lifestyle Dad Blogger. If you enjoyed this post feel free to share it, or if you would like to engage with me you can find me on TWITTER @twodadsandakid or INSTAGRAM @twodadsandakid Follow my blog so you never miss out!

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