5 Surprising Facts About Today's Working Dads

Working dad holding his preschool son
Sure, Mr. Mom was once a fairy tale. But that was back in 1983. Today, there may still be way fewer stay-at-home dads than full-time moms. But make no mistake: today's working fathers are not all business. Politicians aren't the only dads balancing career decisions with family choices.

No longer content with the '50s sitcom version, today's fathers are changing the definition of what's dadly. And the age of the enlightened dad promises rewards or costs to employers depending on whether or not they're paying attention.

Need proof? Here are five things that might surprise you about working dads:

Their #1 Worry is Not Career

Managers in the Modern Family Index presumed that dads were mostly worried about promotions. Not so. What were they really worried about? More than half of dads told us it was work/life balance.

Lack of Family Time is Burning Them Out

What's sapping dad's energy? It isn't business travel or tough clients. While hardly any managers chalked up dad burnout to lack of time with the kids, dads themselves cited the absence of family time as the most frequent cause for running out of steam.

Quality of Life Matters

Why would a dad walk away? Slow career progression is one reason. But an equal number of dads said they'd leave a job because it didn't balance with their families - a surprise to managers who often peg working dads as staunchly career-first.

They Stress About Pickup and Drop-Off

Think only moms who are doing the child care cha-cha? Think again. Last year, nearly the same amount of working dads as moms told us a regular stress in their day was the complicated nature of their child's care.

Flexibility is On Their Wish List, Too

With child care and family time tugging at their sleeves, flex time is on dad's mind as well as mom's. A similar number of women and men told us a modified work schedule would be a lifesaver.

There's a sixth point! the reason you don't know these things about working dads: They're not telling you.  Even in the modern era, when heavy-hitting politicians feel perfectly at ease making their wishes known, and when high-powered dads are making news for literally walking away from their careers for their families, the average working dad told us he's afraid to speak up.  And what that means for the boss is that if they're not wise, the first they'll know of these challenges is when their valuable employees give their notice and walk out the door.

Given the current wars for talent, and the high price of replacing employees, that's a costly chance to take.
Bright Horizons
About the Author
Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons
In 1986, our founders saw that child care was an enormous obstacle for working parents. On-site centers became one way we responded to help employees – and organizations -- work better. Today we offer child care, elder care, and help for education and careers -- tools used by more than 1,000 of the world’s top employers and that power many of the world's best brands
Working dad holding his preschool son

Subscribe to the On the Horizon Newsletter