Working Dads Reflect: On Lack of Empathy Towards Parents and More
The Working Dad Reflect Series continues today! If you’re just joining us, I’ve been sharing interviews of working dads who share their challenges navigating work, life and parenting. This is the 4th interview in the Series.
I’m delighted to bring you this interview that hits on a lot of points that I often think about. Particularly the lack of empathy we have for parents in American society. Today’s interview is my husband, Ludovic. He recently stopped working full-time and became a freelancer. Part of this decision was precisely because he was working too much and not spending enough time with our son who is now 4. For me, this is quote really highlights the problems we have in the USA:
What is what has most surprised you about parenthood? How much love you can have for another human being.
What were your hours like before being a father? Have they changed?
They were too much. Sometimes +14h a day. But I realize now that I brought that on myself. I could have just gone home instead of being too perfectionist and so attached with my work. Now I quit my job, so my hours are managed by me, but the income is not there so it’s another issue.
What are your hours like now? See above.
Do you find yourself thinking you wish your life had more balance? I wish I had thought about it when my child was younger. Work has always been an important part of my life, until one day, I realized that it was not about the money.
Did you take parental leave? If no, why not? If yes, how long and what was your experience like? Was it paid leave?
Yes 2 weeks paid leave, and I am partly grateful that I had that because not everybody gets to have it in the US. However, 2 weeks at that time is WAY too short. Nobody should have to rush back to work. Moms or dads. It is like you are being penalized for bringing life into this world. What an odd way to encourage the continuation of the human race I do not understand why we are doing this to ourselves as a society.
Do you feel that you spend enough time as a family?
Now yes. But I believe that we need to do a much better job as a society. Everybody says “family first” but who can actually execute on this? Time is the most valuable asset we have and yet we spent most of it away from our loved ones. I believe that life as we are taught to live it, from very early on, is wrong.
What do you think is the biggest issue parents face today?
Lack of time. Lack of empathy from people that are not parents yet, and lack of empathy from lawmakers. You would think that lawmakers who also happen to be parents would make it easier for people to spend quality time with their families and with themselves. I am passed the stage of the glorification of work. Working hard does not necessarily make you a good father or a good husband. It makes you a hard worker.
If you could change one thing in the way you do things now, what would it be? Why?
I guess, the most difficult thing for me now is to find balance between bringing income and not being completely surrendered by stress and still being able to be available mentally for my family.
Let’s chat! What do you think is the biggest challenge parents face today?
Read more about the Working Dads Reflect series and the first interview!