It’s times like these that I don’t overly enjoy fatherhood. As I write this at my kitchen table, my wife is sick and both my boys are overcoming the illness as well. I understand sickness is standard in any household particularly with kids. It’s an all too common occurrence in ours. Presently, I’m trying to care for all of them, while running a business which requires me to meet deadlines as well as take care of myself.
I have noticed my anxiety rising at the start of the day as I contemplate my daily demands. It’s this constant juggle which I’ve struggled with at times. As I reflect, I consider if other fathers are sharing similar experiences.
I know my situation isn’t unique. I’m sure there are plenty of others in the same position. It made me want to speak to other dads to find out more. I’m in a privileged position as a researcher to listen and learn from others experiences then share the insights, but in this case, what purpose would it serve?
Coincidentally, I spoke with Sarah Cotton, Justine Alter and Sarah Hellwege from Transitioning Well. A key pillar of their business is ‘rethinking the intersection between work and life’ and they advised me this issue is pertinent.
We now live in a world which is beginning to recognise and better understand the evolving roles of parenthood and the impact this has on our mental health. Transitioning Well have done a lot of work understanding, educating and coaching parents about the challenges they face when transitioning from workers, to full time carers then to working parents.
Through this experience, they believe there is a lack of understanding around the challenges and best ways to support working fathers. For example, often they are only granted two weeks leave following the birth of a child then expected to go back to full time work as if not much has changed in their life.
COVID-19 has also brought with it unique challenges and an opportunity to rethink the role of working fathers. What are the lessons learned through COVID-19 and how can this have an impact on how fathers redefine work and life moving forward?
To capture these learnings, we’re embarking on a journey together to try and find out how fathers are managing. We know that it’s definitely a juggle, but hopefully not too much of a struggle.
Watch this space.