Dads are increasingly spending more time parenting: In 2016, fathers reported spending an average of eight hours a week on child care—about triple the time they provided in 1965, according to Pew Research Center. At the same time, dads, like moms, are struggling to balance work and life. But it's a struggle that's well worth it. A dad named Daniel Maloney is going viral on LinkedIn for encouraging other fathers to step it up and be there for their children.
Maloney, who is the CEO and co-founder of social media scheduler and analytics tool, wrote an open letter to "dads with school-age kids": "Sharing a reflection that hit me pretty hard today about work-life balance," he said. "My daughter's pre-K class has 'chapter time,' where parents can read to the class for 20-30 minutes as they settle in for their nap. My wife went a couple times already this school year, but I never thought to sign-up."
The proud dad noted went on to explain that after the holidays, his daughter Kate started an "I don't want to go to school" phase. He attributes this to her dislike of chapter time. "It's too long," Maloney wrote. "Too quiet. And naps are for babies. I signed up to see if I could help turn that ship around."
The CEO said he spent his lunchtime reading a couple chapters to her class. "My daughter put her mat right up front and had a huge smile on her face the whole time," he shared. "Why didn't I do this sooner? As I was leaving, something else occurred to me. When I walked in, the teacher who introduced me made a point of emphasizing: 'Kate's DAD is here to read to us.' The kids looked stunned. I just looked at the signup sheet for the month. 17 moms so far; no other dads. I'm sad/ashamed that I didn't get involved sooner, but will definitely sign up again. It was a great experience. Work will be there when I get back to the office."
When I walked in, the teacher who introduced me made a point of emphasizing: ‘Kate’s DAD is here to read to us.’ The kids looked stunned.
Commenters applauded Maloney for striving for balance and being there for his daughter. One named Benjamin Ollier shared, "I personally quit my hospitality career when my daughter was born. I was doing alternate weeks of day and night 12-hour shifts. Didn’t see her before I left, and she was already asleep by the time I was coming home at night. Settled for a less interesting job but with more clement and flexible working hours. I’ve seen her take her first steps, heard her say her first words, and I get to drop her off to the childminders every morning. Wouldn’t give that up for the world."
William Lee noted, "Good for you, Danny. Very well said. I have never regretted at any time that I spent with my kids at school, at home or at their extra-curricular activities. I just wish I had done more over the years."
Pew notes that, in their most recent research on the matter, about half of working dads say it is very or somewhat difficult to balance life and work. As more of them step up and make moves like Maloney's, that number will surely increase. But given the multitude of benefits for both dads and kids, it'll be well worth the challenge.