Reflections on the evolving role of dads
Recently, Virginia, the founder of How Do You Do It, and I ran a webinar for the ICAEW focusing on Dads. We looked at the evolving role of Dads and how the changes in society and organisations impact them. We considered the challenges of being a working Dads based on our experience of working with thousands of parents. Then shared solutions about what Dads can do to support themselves to effectively juggle work and home, based on their own version of success.
I’ve been reflecting on it since. What did I take from it? A lot of things but two stand out. Firstly, yet again, a reminder that it is good to talk. Two fathers joined us in the conversation for the hour and then we got comments throughout from the participants. In my experience, Dads will not always raise the challenges they face juggling work and home or share the ways they make it work. There are many reasons for this ranging from their concerns, perceived or real, that it will be career limiting to talk about it through to a view that they shouldn’t need support, just get on and cope with it.
Feedback at the end showed the benefits of sharing experience and hearing others’ solutions. “I feel the challenges I face are normal and others experience them too”, “it is great to meet other working fathers and hear about the choices they have made” and “it’s reminded me about the importance of communication”. It is why much of the work that we do is done in groups which allow parents to build a network of support which they can turn to in the future.
My second takeaway is how important it is to spend time reflecting on what your version of success is. What is a good working Dad to you, based on your own and your family’s needs? What does that mean for the choices you need to make? Our contributors’ comments throughout the webinar reminded us that those choices won’t always be easy, as you need to prioritise one area of another, both of which are important to you. Making active and considered choices is empowering, and basing it on what is important to you avoids choosing an option and resenting it.
If would like to listen to the conversation on the webinar a link can be found at here