Once it was simple. Men worked and most women stayed at home to raise the children. But as more women entered employment, balancing family and work life became a prime aspiration of modern mothers.
The reality though was very different. Inflexible employers, rising living costs and a society that penalized women for taking time out to have children led to what experts call the “motherhood penalty”, it meant women were more likely to work part-time, to be in low-skilled jobs and make-up two-thirds of the low-paid.
Now, a rising number of fathers are finding out what their partners knew for decades: you really can’t have it all.
Fathers’ involvement with their children has grown significantly in just a few decades. The average man’s input into childcare rose from less than 15 minutes a day in the mid-1970s to three hours each weekday by the late 1990s. There has also been a significant change in the proportion of fathers working 48 hours a week or more.
However, the 2017’s Modern Families Index suggests that, despite these changes, there is now a real risk of a “fatherhood penalty” emerging.
The survey confirms what many already know: that while men are still paid better than women, a growing number believe chasing a career means they miss out on decent family life.
Half of the fathers interviewed for the survey of 2,750 people said balancing work and family was increasingly a source of stress. A third said they regularly felt burned out and one in five said they were always doing extra hours in the evening or weekends so they could spend some time with their children during their waking hours. More than half of young fathers want to shift to a less stressful job because they find it difficult to balance work and family life.
A number of surveys have proven that the current generation fathers have a different set of expectations from previous generations. They are more likely to be dropping their children off at nursery than the current gen mothers. These younger fathers have aspirations of what fatherhood looks like. For them, there is equality at home, and both they and their partners work.
But there is a price to pay for this new equality. With more and more couples working full-time, there is a problem of burnout where they both end up lacking time for each other, and their kids, which yet again is one of the leading reasons for your stress!