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The secret lives of working dads

A workshop to explore barriers and enablers of balancing work and home commitments.

Dr Stephen Chiweshe

The intention the workshop ‘The secret lives of working dads’ was to provide a safe space for dads to explore the personal and institutional barriers and enablers of balancing work and home commitments.

This interactive workshop aimed to provide all dads the opportunity to discuss their own context of their own personal beliefs alongside societal norms and the behaviours they witness around them.

Integrating work and family life has never been so real as it is now, with the majority of families thrown into working, caring, and even teaching from home during the Covid-19 pandemic. Families have been flung into new routines, roles and responsibilities.

Previously dads may have experienced what researchers term Father Forfeits, which depicts how fathers are perceived when they don’t fit the gendered stereotype of breadwinner, full time working male. Many men are not aware that they share similar concerns and internal conflicts because it’s not something which is routinely shared at work.

The workshop was facilitated by the Roslin Career Development Committee and ran by Sam Pringle, Head of Research at Fathers Network Scotland. Attendees were from the University of Edinburgh's Roslin Institute, Queen's Medical Research Institute,  Usher Institute, School of Informatics, and School of Social and Political Studies.

I found the workshop really helpful and particularly encouraging. I think it will definitely make a positive difference. For me, the major thing I took away was that I was not alone struggling with some of these issues and that other dads also felt the same pressures that I do. It was helpful to hear others’ stories and to talk about mine, in an environment where it was ok to talk about this - I probably wouldn’t talk much about this with other friends normally.

Going forward I will try to concentrate more on how I feel about things, rather than purely focusing on the concrete ways in which I can improve life (e.g. organisation, timings, housework, etc). Thanks!

Attendee to the workshop

Related links

Managing work/life balance

Roslin’s support for parents & carers