Thanks to the gender equality movement, more women are entering the workforce, making dual-income families more apparent. While both man and woman have the opportunity to become a breadwinner, fathers continue to be the primary providers. Statistics showed that working dads support 85 percent of dual-parent households. Due to their leadership at home, 76 percent of working dads want greater job responsibility and 58 percent want to get into a senior management role. Not only these, working fathers today also aspire to spend more time caring for their children and engage in housework.
Notions of family breadwinner might have changed over time, but there is little evidence of an increase in the number of dads staying at home with their children.
The Australian Institute of Family Studies disclosed that the number of stay-at-home fathers is small, at about 4-5 percent of two-parent families. This percentage has not grown much in the last two decades but was considerably lower in the 1980s. The number has increased from 68,500 in 2011 to 80,000 in 2016.
The Australian Institute researchers said that despite changes in attitudes toward involved fathering, and also increased employment participation among mothers, there are factors making this arrangement not workable for many families. One of the most common reasons is likely to be related to financial constraints on families.
Other reasons are stigma and career consequences, where men who adjust their work for a family are seen as insufficiently committed to their work and unmanly. To make it more difficult, employers still expect men to be “all in” for work even when they are sharing care at home.
Being at work and doing well at home is important. However, keeping the balance between work and family responsibilities might be somewhat difficult to achieve, especially for new working dads. If you worry that your new or impending status as a father is going to put a dent in your career or responsibilities, here are advice from five experienced working fathers you can take:
Andrew Lee, Executive Assistant Manager – Rooms, Courtyard by Marriott Singapore Novena
I am a father of four energetic, bubbly children whom I love spending time with. It can be challenging to achieve a work-life balance with the fast-paced nature of hospitality, but I check in with my wife and children during breaks and maintain close contact with them. My advice would be to find what works for you. It will take time to find your groove but never stop trying. I make it a point to head home for dinner with my family and share bedtime stories before my children sleep. Spending quality time with my family at the end of the working day helps me recharge and reminds me of my motivation in life – my family.
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Chef Thibault Chiumenti, Executive Chef of The St. Regis Singapore
Be present and always try to engage with your child as much as possible – whether it’s having dinner, reading her a bedtime story or going out for a bike ride – be attentive, put away all distractions and cherish each moment. Now that my daughter is almost 4 years old, we have levelled up to cooking together. My wife and I try to engage her in meaningful play where we can make videos of us cooking together. Becoming a father will probably be one of the biggest events in your life and what matters most is to be as involved as you can! It is not an easy journey but embarking on fatherhood is one of the most fulfilling things I have done in my life.
Chef Tomoyuki Kiga, Chef de Cuisine of Akira Back Singapore, JW Marriott Singapore South Beach
I would say constantly communicate with your partner and always remember that you are both a team! A new parent can feel overwhelmed by the new journey they are on – my advice would be to set goals. I personally try to be as involved as I can in my boys’ lives and have committed to setting aside as much time as I can outside of work to spend meaningful time with them. My wife and I plan activities and think of new things we can do together to expose our children to different experiences.
Chef Massimo Pasquarelli, Executive Chef of The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore
Juggling a busy schedule while raising three beautiful children with my wife requires lots of communication, lots of teamwork and rolling your sleeves up to make it work! As our family grew over the years, I would say that finding time for each child helps to build parents’ bond with them. As they say, the days are long, but the years are short so savour every single moment you have with your children because they grow up faster than you realize! Find activities that the whole family can do together – for my family, my children have picked up a love for food and we try out different cuisines as often as we can. Our love for food has helped us create special memories as a family.
Alessandro Christoforus, Tech Lead & Software Developer at Talentvis
I enjoy my time as a full-time working dad. During this pandemic, I have to fulfil every single task at work and guide my son on his school activities. Although I found it challenging at first, as I needed to balance my career and my role as a dad, I managed to overcome the hindrance. My advice to all working dads: never miss a single day on your kid’s activity, especially activities that make them smile because it will give a fighting spirit for you to keep moving forward.