Ravell Call, Deseret News
Each morning, 33-year-old Chicagoan Chris Brusznicki spends the first hours of his day getting his three kids — all under 5 years old — ready for the day while his wife hits the gym. Brusznicki works seven days a week, putting in more than 80 hours a week as the founder and CEO of GamedayHousing.com and other real estate ventures — but he is also a dedicated dad. He makes time to not only spend these mornings with his kids, but he also sets aside a long weekend every month just for family. In June, they took a trip to Milwaukee — next month, they plan to explore Toronto.
Brusznicki, an Army veteran who served in Iraq, believes that managing the pressures of work and home life is all about planning and organization. Making it work means ensuring that time with his family is focused on them. "When I am home, I try to be in the moment," he said. "No iPhone, no work, no nothing. I used to bring work with me everywhere, and I have stopped that. Things can wait."
Brusznicki’s balancing act is part of a growing trend of fathers who want to spend more time with their families than prior generations of dads. Increasingly, dads are finding themselves struggling to figure out how to "have it all" — a career and time with their families.
"A small but growing minority of young men are just not interested in the old deal that was traditionally offered to ambitious men, which is basically that you throw yourself into your career and leave the daily care of children to your spouse and then show up for special occasions," said Joan Williams, founding director of the Center for WorkLife Law at UC Hastings.
According to a Pew Research Center study conducted earlier this year, only half of working fathers say they spend enough time with their kids. The same study reported that this is true even as fathers have nearly tripled their time spent with their children since 1965. While the pressure for men to be dedicated to their job above all else persists, many dads are working hard to make time with their family an essential and growing part of their lives.
A changing landscape
The traditional image of a dad out in the workforce and mom at home with the kids is not the reality of today’s labor market. According to a study conducted by the University of Maryland in 2005, the employment of American mothers with children under 18 increased from 45 to 78 percent between 1965 and 2000. In 2008, the United States Census reported that in 70 percent of two-parent households with children, both parents worked outside the home.
As the dual-worker household has become the new normal, parents are juggling to find balance between their roles in the economy and time with their families. According to a Pew Research Center study released in March, among parents with children under 18, 50 percent of working fathers and 56 percent of working mothers say that balancing the responsibilities of their job with the responsibilities of their family is very or somewhat difficult.
But perhaps given the recent discussions about women "leaning in" and “having it all," fathers seem to be struggling the most with finding the right tradeoffs between work and home. According to the Pew study, 46 percent of working dads say they are not spending enough time with their children, compared to 23 percent of working moms. Additionally, 68 percent of those moms say they spend the right amount of time with their children, while only half of dads say the same.