Why We Should Care if CEO Dads Choose to be Engaged Parents

The thoughts and experiences of several CEO dads regarding work-family balance are detailed in a new article posted to TIME.

This quote from Ernst & Young’s Mark Weinberger sums up why it is important to tell the stories of these high-powered, high-stress, high-responsibility executives:

“You can have all the initiatives you want saying you can have flexibility, but until some of the real leaders make the choice to choose family, I don’t think people feel like they have real permission to do it.”

I agree with Weinberger, who told TIME about turning down the chance to take photos on top of the Great Wall of China after a recent speech because he had to board a plane to get back to the U.S. for his daughter’s driving test the next day. Weinberger added that he received many emails after that speech, all of which praised his commitment to fatherhood.

I am drawn to a story like this one, as well as the one I wrote last month for TODAY Parents about CEO Max Schireson reducing his work duties to be more “there” for his kids. The idea that millionaire men who are responsible for the growth and well-being of billion-dollar companies want the world to know they are engaged fathers resonates with me.

No, these guys don’t have to worry about paying for food or medical bills. They have the luxury to actually make decisions that will enable them to spend more time being dads, as opposed to working two or three jobs to make ends meet.

But that actually enhances their point. They have the choice, and they choose to make fatherhood a priority. Not merely the traditional, provider role of fatherhood. The vital role of being there, of engaging with their kids. As Schireson told me, “It’s not just about being there more. It’s about being ‘more there.'”

This is why it’s important to acknowledge these rich men who run these big companies but also are committed to being the best dads they can be. Because the more it becomes the norm for the men and women who are “big” bosses to make the right choices in terms of work-family priorities, the easier it will become for all of us to be “more there” for our kids.

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I am beginning my second week working out of our home. So far, so good. Last week, the boys seemed pleased to have me home in the afternoons, and I was more than pleased to be here for them.

We’re still making the adjustment, and I get the feeling that it will take more than a few days to figure it all out. Then, just as we figure it out, I imagine things will change again. We’ll adjust to that, too.

For now, I’ll meet them at the bus stop, get them settled into a routine that includes an afternoon snack and homework (not necessarily in that order) and juggle the responsibilities of writing and maintaining the household.

I’m no CEO, but this will do.

 

8 thoughts on “Why We Should Care if CEO Dads Choose to be Engaged Parents

  1. We as stay/work at home dads are a form of CEO. Maybe we don’t do all the heavy lifting with regards to finances but as (hopefully) co-heads of households, it is on us all as parents regardless of position to set a good example and set the tone for what it means to be a father, and indeed, a man.

  2. In the job interview for my current position I made sure to make it clear just how important my family is to me. I said there would be days I leave early to spend time with my family if I have to, however, I will work my butt off while I am at work so that I have the ability to do that. It was a risky move which I discovered hurt me in my job search, but it was well worth putting out there. Now I am in a position that I can focus on my family. If the child is sick, I can bring him in so I can work and they don’t ask me to do too many things outside of working hours because they know I’ll be with my family.

  3. It is a great to hear that that there are male business leaders making family a priority. I am sure these men/fathers are seen as role models by some which makes it is even more important. I wish all bosses and places of employment were understanding about the need to put family first over the corporate obligations. I am in a position that allows for an enormous amount of flexibility for my family’s needs and as a supervisor, I make sure that my employees get the time they need to meet their needs of their families as well. Great post!

  4. Great to hear/read this. It’s about time, as well. I think it’s really important for kids that both their parents are more present.

  5. I really enjoyed this post, Carter. My dad was a teacher during the day and a store manager at night, so he didn’t really have a choice. Hence, your entire point. These high-powered men have the choice and the means to make it so. I’m happy to hear that many of them are choosing family first. Also, it was great to meet you this weekend! I look forward to staying connected.

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