Work/Life Balance for Men: Taking Time Off for Family Leave
As part of the baby boomer generation, my age group was brought up with certain, if even unspoken, gender expectations. Our main concern was focused around the ups and downs of climbing the corporate ladder in our role as breadwinners. If we chose, and were fortunate enough to have a child, there was an understanding that while a mother would be out of work for some time, the father was expected to return to work as soon as possible. This was expected and we did not know any different. After all, that's what our fathers did.
Even with the changes in the laws (see Family Medical Leave Act), as a former corporate executive in a human resources department of what I consider to be a progressive company, I still witnessed this in the not so distant past. If an expectant father spoke of being out on family leave for any real length of time, you could hear the comments. It was as if these men were being seen as less competitive and ambitious. While we know in our hearts how silly this might seem, old stereotypes are hard to get away from. I can see this making it more difficult to achieve the balance between home and work we are after.
The roles of fathers have changed over the years. My beliefs on fatherhood and my involvement with my children's activities are very different than my own father's approach. I also think the approach of the newer generations of men are better than my generation. However slowly, things are changing and I'm glad to see it.
What are your thoughts on this?