PARENTS OF THE U.S.
This interview is part of our Parents of the U.S. initiative. Its goal is to create awareness of the need to change workplace policies, laws, and values by interviewing parents across the United States about their lives and work-life integration.
Personal stats: Father of two, ages 3 and 16 months. Husband to Jennifer.
Corner of the world: Cincinnati, Ohio.
On work-life integration: “My company is based in Pittsburgh, and I am one of three employees who work remotely. The best part of working from home is the flexibility I have with family life. I plan my work around my life as opposed to planning my life around my work. The worst part is always being on-call. If there is a work emergency, I have to take it no matter what I am in the middle of doing. In order to be present with my family, I have had to create a physical barrier between my work space and my home life, which means either working in a coffee shop or in a home office so that when I step away from either of those places, I’m in family mode. Otherwise I’d just have my computer on all the time.”
“In order to be present with my family, I have had to create a physical barrier between my work space and my home life.”
Community support: “My biggest support system comes from a weekly father’s group I attend at Crossroads Church. We have presentations that give you the tools to be a better father and husband, and then we break into small groups to have discussions. My small group meets monthly outside of our meetings and, as a California transplant who works from home, it’s been the best way to build friendships and a supportive community in a way that would otherwise have been difficult to find.”
On government interventions: “Men get left out when it comes to paternity leave, and I think the government will have to get involved in order to set a standard; otherwise, companies have little incentive to provide paternity leave on their own because they view employees as replaceable. Having a baby is stressful enough, but now add the financial burden of paying for medical bills and trying to transition into parenthood and support your spouse when neither or only one of you has paid leave, and the financial pressure is enormous.”
How society perceives fathers: “Unfortunately, workplace policies, like offering maternity but not paternity leave, enforce outdated gender roles. These policies view women as the sole nurturers and home-makers, when in reality, men are just as involved in their children’s lives. If I could change one thing, it would be that our society would view fathers as more than just financial providers, and respect men who choose to stay at home with their children.”
Thanks so much for sharing, Brian!
Like us and join our growing community of parents in discussion on Facebook. You can also access great resources on our website.
Psst: If you know of someone who’d like to be interviewed (including yourself!) for Parents of the U.S., please shoot us an email at Hello@TheBreedingGround.org.