It's that time again, time to remember the man in our life, the father of our children, the emptier of the dishwasher, the quicker picker upper of the kids on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Happy Father's Day, working dad!
Our magazine is called Working Mother, but we love working fathers, too. Studies find that men are doing more hands-on parenting than ever before (9.6 hours per week versus 4.5 hours in 1995) and for the majority of married households with kids under the age of 18, both parents work. These days, the business of running a family plus two careers works best when carried by two sets of shoulders, side by side.
But even more than that, we love working dads of all stripes -- from the full-time corporate climber to the creative entrepreneur to the networking job seeker -- for the style, substance and patience for board games that they bring to parenting. In fact, we love them so much that for the first time ever, we made the bold move to change the name of our 34-year-old magazine to Working Father. I even handed my editor's note over to my own favorite working dad to get his dad's-eye view.
Working Mother also rounded up the top 10 lessons we can learn from the guys. Here's a quick rundown:
- A little "rough play" is A-OK. Many moms are a touch squeamish about this, but most dads instinctively realize that regular rough-and-tumble time is part of Parenting 101.
- Risk-taking can be healthy. Both at home and at work, guys are good at taking calculated risks. And they're fine when kids do the same.
- Taking time off with the kids is a given. Brad Harrington, executive director of the Boston College Center for Work & Family, says, "If dads need to be out of the office for a school event, they don't feel guilty or defend their choice; they're just out for an appointment."
- Competition can be cool. The dad lesson here: Some healthy rivalry encourages kids to work harder and learn to face life's disappointments.
- Asking for a raise is part of the game. Men may be nervous about asking for money but they fake it really well -- and they do it. So, Mom, put on your best game face and go for that raise.
- Multitasking isn't always good. New research shows moms multitask 10 more hours a week than dads, and they feel more stressed about it when they do. The best antidote? Delegate more chores to your spouse!
- Time for yourself is essential. Working dads often protest their "me time" fiercely, whether that means going to the gym or reading on the couch for a decent chunk of time... Put massages, yoga classes -- whatever fuels you -- on your calendar in ink.
- Don't stew in it. Dads, partly due to their single-minded focus, are more apt to quickly recap mistakes, then move on to the next task.
- Kids need to explore -- and even get lost sometimes. Kyle Pruett, MD, clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale says, "Most dads will say, "He's fine, he's exploring" and mean it. Of course, good dads are also keeping a close eye out to help when needed."
- Lunchboxes and outfits and hair and... don't have to be perfect. Dr. Pruett also says, "I hear dads say it's more important to feed the kids on time, maybe give them a little junk food, than to feed them perfectly. Dads get the job done too. They're just more flexible about how it gets done."
Some of these lessons may take a lifetime to learn for this working mom (especially No. 8), but honestly, I'm glad I have a working dad partner to help me see things from another point of view. I'm also glad he does the laundry!