US dads torn between children, career: study

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Indy Lifestyle Online

New American fathers are increasingly torn between the demands of their busy careers and the responsibilities of parenthood, according to a study released Wednesday.

The Boston College Center for Work & Family studied nearly 1,000 fathers who are "white collar workers" in large corporations, and found they were struggling to juggle their dual roles as caregiver and breadwinner.

"This is clearly a work in progress for today's fathers," the study said.

The report "presents a portrait of fathers who strive for professional growth in the workplace as they also strive for equality in their home life, although they openly admit they have not yet achieved it."

Dads have been called on to do their fair share since the beginning of time, but in recent decades they have been under increasing pressure to expand their caregiving duties amid a dramatic decrease in the "traditional family," which includes two parents, one of whom works and the other stays at home.

That family structure has profoundly changed, replaced in large part by dual-career couples or by single-parent families where the adult is employed.

Women now outpace men in higher education degrees and, for the first time ever, women in recent years have made up slightly more than half of the US workforce, the study said.

While a majority of the fathers said they aspired to sharing equally in the caregiving duties with their spouses or partners, the survey's findings showed new dads were not living up to their own expectations.

Seventy-seven percent of the fathers acknowledged they would like to spend more time interacting with their children, while 22 percent said they were satisfied with the amount of time they spent with their kids, according to the report.

In another illustration of the conflict between career aspirations and parenthood, some 57 percent of fathers said that within the past three months they had not been able to get everything done at home because of their job.

And four times as many respondents (29 percent versus seven percent) said they quite often or very often interrupted their time at home to address work-related issues rather than the other way round.

More than three-quarters of respondents said they took off just one week or less after the birth of their most recent child, and 16 percent reported taking no time off at all.

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