Dads have been buying family time during the pandemic. Many don’t want to give it back.
Ryan McCarty, the Cincinnati branch manager for the Robert Half employment agency, was away from home 13 hours a day before the pandemic, including evening events and his 45-minute commute. Now he works from home, which he says has allowed him to be there for his two toddlers for meals, doctor visits and milestones. One took his first steps in the middle of a weekday morning. Mr McCarty is there in a video, in a button down shirt and sweatpants, after running away from his home office to witness it.
“For a very long time it was: the male is the provider,” he said. “I was that guy. But now I’m not ashamed to say that’s who I am in my life. That’s what Covid did. We had a lot of down time to think and think about what is important.
As a recruiter, he noticed that men now regularly ask for flexibility. A recent client told him that his priority was to meet his child at the bus at 3:30 p.m. and that he would give up his salary to do so.
“You would never have heard that from anyone,” he said. “Never. And now it’s commonplace. It’s not a sign of weakness anymore.
Ben Campbell, the father of two girls under 5 in Smithville, Texas, got used to spending time with his children during the day when his sales job moved away at the start of the pandemic. So in later work, when a boss commented on how often he had parental obligations, he replied, “Yes, and that won’t change.”
He said it made a big difference that his current employer, AffiniPay, is run by a mother who talks to staff about juggling work and family. He now works from home four days a week and his wife is also away. During breaks, they run child-related errands, or their children show them the artwork they made with their nanny. They couldn’t imagine giving that up if they worked full-time in offices.
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