Modern Fatherhood: Blurring the Line Between Career Man and Family Man

My Dad came with my mom and me to the pediatrician for my 6-year old check up. I was fairly certain I was dying. Why else would my Dad come to the doctor with us? This must be really bad.

Spoiler alert: I actually was not dying.

My Dad is wonderful and in the 80s he was building a business so it was rare for him to make the trek to the 1pm pediatrician appointment where I would cry for a solid 30 minutes waiting for a shot.

This sentiment was not just my dad. In many ways, this was the norm of fatherhood.

John Thiel, the head of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, wrote in a recent article:

“I was told: “When your kids are young, don’t worry about it, because they won’t remember. Tip the scales for work, you can be there for them later.” That approach doesn’t work. The tension of keeping two different lives in balance gets to you eventually. Your home life is usually the first to suffer. And that means your work eventually will as well.”

My interest in the evolution of fatherhood began a few years ago when I was doing a project for a big restructuring firm in New York. I was told by the CHRO that it was very common for the company to lose their top talented women after the first child. The job was stressful, long hours were required and travel was a must. However, in the last two years, they began to see some of their top performing men leave the company after the second child. Exit interviews found that these men simply did not think they could be present parents and spouses under that kind of work culture. The CHRO said she had not seen anything like this in the past 20 years she had been with the company.

Fatherhood has changed.

Think more Phil Dunfee and less Don Draper.

In 1965, fathers spent an average of 6.5 hours per week on household work and childcare. By 2011, that number jumped to 17 hours per week.

The number of stay-at-home dads has doubled since 1989 and the time fathers spend with their children has nearly tripled from a generation ago.


  • Women work
  • The social construction of masculinity is being re-examined as more men break the mold of socially accepted “manliness”
  • The internet has paved the way for hands-on dads to have support from one another through popular blogs, podcasts and online communities.

Example in Marketing:

Example at Work:

  • Deloitte—
    • 3 weeks paid paternity leave, 8 weeks if primary caregiver
    • The company offer financial assistance in the form of $10,000 that can be used for things like college tuition and mortgages
    • Employees average 40 paid days off a year, and if you make it 2 years you can take 3-6 month sabbaticals at 40 percent of your current salary


  • “Family First” is not a female-centric mindset
  • Anti-family corporate cultures could lose top talent
  • Measuring productivity instead of time at work will become a must
  • Customizable work arrangements will be/already are a critical competitive advantage