Working Dads Reflect on Work, Life and Parenting
A while back I realized that if we want to achieve better conditions for working mothers, we needed to improve conditions for working dads as well. Both working mothers and fathers need to have quality time with their families. Historically, the obligations of childcare and housework have fallen on mothers, but as time has passed things have changed. Today, more women are in the workforce and more dads are doing their fare share at home. While it is still not 50/50, we need to help dads achieve a fair work/life balance. In order for women to realize their full potential in the workplace, men need to be able to be more present at home… what we want to achieve is better conditions for family life for both working mothers AND working fathers. Unfortunately, we still face a lot of challenges in the workplace for both mothers and fathers.
We always think of moms trying to find work/life balance or trying to do it all, but today’s dads are much more involved (or want to be but cannot) than the dads of past generations and they also have thoughts and face challenges when trying to achieve work/life balance.
We often ask moms how they balance it all, how they work and manage their family life but we don’t often ask dads; so this week in honor of Father’s Day, I asked dads to share their experiences while trying to balance work, life and parenthood. I’m delighted to bring you today’s interview with Yitzi Zablocki, Director of Film at JCC Manhattan. Yitzi had the chance to take paternity leave and even documented it on Facebook: Paternitzi. I’m thrilled he is sharing his experiences below.
What is what has most surprised you about parenthood?
What were your hours like before being a father? Have they changed?
I was a 24/7 kind of guy. Technically a normal day would be 10am to 6pm, but I had events most nights, and was constantly working. I still am, but I need to be even more efficient about it. I do not attend as many night events, and I am lucky enough to work six blocks from my home, so often when I run my films at the JCC, I start the film and run home to give my son a bath and say goodnight, or sometimes just to see him for a moment before he goes to sleep. The truth is, I am coming in earlier and leaving earlier. He gets up at around 6 or 7am, and the Nanny comes around 9, so I am no longer starting my day at 10am. I have also taken the challenge of working from home on Monday, and this has become my favorite day of the week. It is amazing how many email you can answer during nap time, and I get creative with scheduling meetings while he plays with a friend. It is demanding to work and care for him at the same time, but well worth it.
Did you take parental leave? If no, why not? If yes, how long and what was your experience like? Was it paid leave?
I did. Paternitzi. 6 weeks of Daddy time. I did keep on my work during that time, and had my calls transferred to my cell and kept up on emails and worked night events. Though in all honesty, once our nanny started, I went back a week early as it was a little redundant to have both me and her there.
Do you feel that you spend enough time as a family?
Yes. We are very lucky.
Who does more of the cooking and cleaning at home? Percentage?
I do all the cooking, Aviva [my wife] does all the organizing and cleaning. I do the heavy duty stuff. Aviva has taken on organizing the Baby stuff, and I stay out of that in order to keep peace in the house. I am a bit more engaged with my work at the moment, so Aviva covers more nights, which causes an imbalance and a shift from my ideal 50/50.
If you could change one thing in the way you do things now, what would it be? Why?
I am happy to say at the moment I have a great balance. Aviva works from home on Fridays and those are my slower day, so we are with him completely from Friday to Monday.
What do you think is the biggest issue parents face today?
Most fathers cannot engage as much as me, and that creates an imbalance both at home and in the work
Do you find yourself thinking you wish your life had more balance?
I love my work and of course love my son the most, so my goal is actually to be able to resist my urge to cut back on the work I love. I do not want to cut back on hours and limit the career I love. I think I can have both.