August 16, 2004
The pain of the "new" dad...TIME Magazine just ran a story "Stress and the Superdad" with the sub-head "Like the supermoms before them, today's fathers are struggling to balance work and home."
I beg to differ that it's today's fathers....I remember my dad struggling with the balance. He'd come home from his gig as a commercial contractor, having been up since 5 am. The man would just want a few minutes to watch a ballgame on TV. But he took me to the park, out fishing, or just for a walk. We'd have dinner, and then he'd go about doing work around the house. And he didn't say a peep about it.
So what's the difference with today's dads?
They are willing to talk about this new-found "challenge." They'll tell you they face the same time battles as their wives, trying to figure out how to find the time to fulfill work and home obligations and then just be dad (forget superdad -- these guys just want quality time with their families).
I remember a conversation I had with a good friend about her husband's work schedule. She's a part-time attorney and stays home with her two boys (one and four-years old) several days during the week. Her husband leaves the house by 9am and is usually home by 7pm. They have dinner together, and he helps with the boys. After they go to bed, he usually turns on his laptop and works til the wee hours - and that is the compromise they make so that he can be home and have family time.
Compromise is no stranger to a mom, no less a working mom. Compromise is her middle name. So when she reads a story about dads finally experiencing feel the same anguish, expect a sly smile to appear on her face. It's a smile that sighs "finally."
It's about time dads feel the gut-wrenching guilt and stress typical of a working mom. What's annoying is that for some inane reason when men experience it, it suddently becomes valid.