In honor of Father’s Day, the NY Times ran an article “Now Dad feels as stressed out as Mom”.
The author claims that fathers are struggling just as much or even more than mothers to fulfill their responsibilities at home and in the office
Even in dual career families men remain the primary breadwinner. When a father has the desire to spend more time with his children, work is reluctant to give him necessary time flexibility. Taking time to be with kids is discouraged and viewed as compromising his work commitment.
When men do contribute to child care at home, studies have found that mothers do not value their husband’s contribution enough.
A father helps to put children to sleep, make sandwiches for lunch, or give kids a bath. But his wife is not likely to value that contribution as much as he does.
Therefore, men have both stresses at work and at home.
Work-related stress varies between industries and choosing a corporate culture supporting fathers can be done prior to accepting a job.
The home stress results from the expectations related to the primary family roles. With father as primary breadwinner, mother often assumes the role of primary caregiver. This includes the physical and emotional care of the children and most often the upkeep of the household as well.
Therefore, when a man helps he is entering her domain of primary responsibility. Often when he spends time caring for children there is a sense that he is helping his wife. Since a mother only gets short reprieves from those responsibilities she often feels her husband’s contribution is minimal, or certainly less significant than he thinks it is.
A helpful suggestion is for father to take on primary responsibility for a period of time, with mother being out of the house. This can be at night or on a weekend.
Just as men must acknowledge their wives hard child caring work, a wife must communicate appreciation for what their husband is doing as a father.
Jennifer Davis made the distinction between being a father and being a daddy. Anyone can be a father she wrote, but being a daddy is something special to appreciate
I would suggest you read the beautiful essay she wrote on Father’s Day for a moving expression of appreciation for daddies.