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The “New” Dad Looks A Lot Like...A Woman

By HERWriter Guide
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Ask any woman about her greatest challenges and somewhere on that list is finding balance. Whether a woman works, or chooses to be a stay-at-home mom, she’s going to be juggling a long list of demands for her time, energy, skills and attention. Study after study has found that these multiple demands are often the hardest on working moms, who have been found to consistently rank below men and women without children in terms of levels of happiness and satisfaction. A key reason often cited for this disparity is the lower level of male participation in the work of running and maintaining a household.

This could be changing, according to a new study from Boston College’s Center for Work and Family. Researchers there say the “new” dad has a more equal role with the “new” mom, and is just as stressed by the challenges of multiple roles. The report found that while traditional dads equated being a good father with the role of being “the breadwinner,” dads today are more focused on “being there, being present, spending time and being accessible.”

The report, titled "The New Dad: Exploring Fatherhood Within a Career Context," is a qualitative study of middle-income, first-time fathers that focuses on the area of men, careers, and fatherhood. The rising numbers of women in the workforce and employer downsizings have shifted men’s attitudes about parenting and workplace commitment, say the researchers.

Significant findings from the study include:

• Most fathers in the study confirmed that their self-image at work increased in a positive way after having children, with many fathers reporting that their new role as parents had enhanced their reputation, credibility and even career options.

• Although new fathers felt supported by their bosses regarding work-life flexibility, most did not arrange formal flexible work arrangements as new mothers sometimes do. Instead, these fathers used more informal, sometimes “stealth” approaches to balancing work and family issues.

• In many cases the men were not prepared for how much work it can be to take care of a young child.

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EmpowHER Guest

I was VERY nervous when I learned we were expecting. After 2.5 years I cannot believe how much my daughter has changed me. I suppose everyone is different but these days I am very much involved in her life. But initially, I was too shocked to do much. Articles like this help new dad a lot:

June 22, 2010 - 9:20am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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