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Successful career or active fatherhood: Can you do both?
Finding the family life and career balance can be difficult, but it is possible -- and worth it. - photo by Wendy Jessen
There's an assumption in society that women are the sole child caretakers, while fathers are the breadwinners. While some of those long-standing traditions are being challenged with more women in the work force, some stay-at-home-dads, single-parent homes and other changes, it still isn't socially acceptable, especially in the professional world, for fathers to set limits on their workload in order to take an active role within their families.

Career pressures

"Men can be hit with a "not man enough" penalty at work for being actively engaged in family life," according to a Family Studies article. Being a family man is viewed by society as a sign of weakness or as being less masculine. Additionally, in a professionally driven world, those in the hierarchy may tend to think that if you want to spend time with your family, that you are not fully committed to your career or to the company. Some may even lose opportunities because of making family-centered choices. Basically, some professionals believe that if you want to be successful, work has to be your no. 1 priority.

This can be a difficult choice if family is important to you. On one hand, you need to make money to support your family and give them the comforts of life. On the other, what's the point of having a family if you don't get to spend time with them?

Balancing equals success

Interestingly, "The men who were able to spend more time with their families without calling attention to it or asking for accommodations tended to be more professionally successful," the article states. If your family is important to you, try to make it work regardless of your situation. Perhaps you turn down a project here and there or don't accept every chance at overtime. Or, when you're home, try to be really present and involved with your kids and wife. You can find a balance between family life and your career that works for you if you really want to.

Fatherhood is more important and more fulfilling than any career ever could be.

Work is a necessary means to support a family, but when you have a deep connection with your children, it makes those work hours more worth it. Your children need to learn about life from you; however, they can teach you more than you think.

Philanthropist Naveen Jain stated, "Being a father has been, without a doubt, my greatest source of achievement, pride and inspiration. Fatherhood has taught me about unconditional love, reinforced the importance of giving back and taught me how to be a better person."

No one lies on their death bed lamenting how they wish they had worked longer hours so they could have gotten that promotion. More often, they regret not spending more time with those they love, especially their family.

Dads, though providing for your family is important, make sure your family is most important. They need you more than they need your money. Kids don't stay small forever and if you're too busy with work, you'll miss out on some special moments and relationships.

Finding the balance between your career and being a family man can be difficult, but it is possible. It may take some sacrifices as well as some pondering to know how to best do it all, but you can do it. If you make you family your priority, everything else will fall into place.
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