Why does male work life balance matter?
Ian Dinwiddy, founder of Inspiring Dads, explains why their mission is so important (600 words)
After 7 years of management consultancy, shortly after his first child was born, Ian became a ‘Stay at Home Dad’ which he successfully mixed with freelance work and national league hockey umpiring.
In 2018 Inspiring Dads Ltd was born.
The seven-year itch then?
Management Consultancy was never going to be a great fit with our primary, family goal of one of us always ‘being there for the children’ (at time of writing - Freya 8 and Struan 5). So, I took the bit of consultancy that I loved, and retrained as a coach before discovering my niche. I realised I wanted to help and support those men whose work-life balance is causing them stress.
Why ‘men’ and why ‘work-life balance’?
Within the coaching industry you’ll find plenty of Life Coaches who specialise in working with female clients and you’ll find executive coaching designed to improve work performance.
What you won’t find is coaching and support to help men be successful at ‘life’. When men become dads, it is as much of an upheaval and an emotional and practical challenge as it is for women.
Haven’t men always been considered the ‘hunter-gatherers’?
Surveys tell us that men want to spend time with their children, but society and the workplace is conditioned to treat men as providers (and women as carers).
Men who seek to spend more time with their families are treated with suspicion and are seen as ‘not committed.’ In fact, rather than spending more time with their new families men end up working harder and longer.
Lack of good work-life balance causes massive amounts of stress and potential relationship breakdown.
Is there positive news?
The good news is that there is a whole generation of dads who understand that the old model of one parent, commonly the man, being 'all in' for work is looking increasingly old fashioned, even archaic.
What do Dads really want?
Simple really – to Be a Great Dad AND Have A Great Career.
There are 3 key elements
👉 They want to be happy and they want their families to be happy.
👉 They want to see more of their families.
👉 They want better quality time when they have it.
Flexible working has a key role to play in facilitating improved work-life balance.
Does flexible working for men matter?
It would be very easy to dismiss this as men finding out what women have known for a long time, it's hard to have it all. At Inspiring Dads we see this as an opportunity… By harnessing the energy and desire of a new generation of dads, we can design a new way of living and working and unlock profound benefits for everyone.
When men are unable to access flexible working, too often it is women who are obliged to take lower paid roles in order to gain the flexibility that they require for family childcare commitments.
This reinforces the gender pay gap that develops long before adults become parents, as assumptions about childcare and parenting responsibilities discriminate against women and trap men in the cycle of men as providers, women as carers.
What are the positives?
When men are supported and inspired to access flexible working
✅ Dads would be happier
✅ Families would be happier
✅ There would be genuine choice as to how to divide childcare responsibilities.
✅ The gender pay gap would reduce.
Your vision for the future?
Men using their power, voice and agency to seek out and achieve flexible working, normalising it for everyone.
It’s time to inspire, support and challenge Dads to make changes for everyone’s benefit.