What does money mean to dads, and why do men chase money?
It’s a really interesting topic I find the relationship to money and how Dads in particular take on more of the burden (even if it’s only a sense of the burden), and how it plays out in work life, home life and the shared commitments – or lack thereof – around the topic of money.
Our Dads In Business back to work survey suggests there still exists a whopping 79% of Dads who feel there is a perception and stereotype around what a Dad should be and what a Dad should do.
I’m ambitious. I always have been. The problem is that this ambition can take over and swamp our perspective on anything else. When I started working for myself it’s well shared that I would say yes to everything, anything, that came along and with this I got busy. This didn’t translate directly in to pound notes though so I continued to press on, get busy and prove to myself – but also prove to others – that I had made a good decision to work for myself.
It wasn’t until I checked in with myself and realised that I had missed too many bed times, tea times and date nights for the pursuit of work and money that I found solutions to help manage my time and my output at work to make sure I kept aligned with my responsibilities at home.
Our research in partnership with the University Of Sheffield around the roles of the modern Dad plays in to this and some of the points can be seen over on the focus group findings article.
How I manage my time?
The pursuit of money and the true cost of money is an engaging topic and this article goes in to some of the perceptions, stigmas, risks and solutions about how we can check in with ourselves and appreciate more the costs of money. As a busy Dad of three I need to be sure my time is well spent. I’m quite disciplined with this now and I use a fantastic app called ATracker that allows me to track my work activity but also then expand this to allow me to track my most profitable work in relation to time input.
By doing this I was able to ditch meaningless tasks that had no strategic or long term benefit to the business but would solely have space in my diary to make me busy.
It’s my secret weapon and I encourage anyone to get their hands on it!
I hope you find this article helpful.
DADS VS MONEY
‘I worry about money a lot, life’s expensive and it’s not just my life I’m paying for now. I think about making money somehow daily just so I’d be more comfortable in life.’Anonymous.
For dads, money is security for themselves and their families. But it’s also often a primary source of stress and time consumption. You cannot buy back time, even if money provides levels of happiness. So, when it comes to working extra hours and tiring yourself out, you might consider what is needed, wanted and what is not necessary to free up some time for you, and your family.
So why do men chase money?
Past gender norms have expected men to be the breadwinner and support their families, so this chase for money and success is engrained into some dads.
- Earning money is rewarding beyond buying things and reaching financial security – it creates a sense of purpose and power. Purpose and power earn respect.
- Job success is an all-around good feeling, we can all agree on that.
- Setting and achieving goals is a healthy reward system and living comfortably is an ideal goal.
- But at what cost do we push ourselves too far to earn more?
MONEY VS TIME – MAKE PRIORITIES, SET BOUNDARIES
Up until the recent past it was the norm to assume the father as the breadwinner of the family. Men were expected to deal with ongoing stress and ‘just deal with it’, inevitably affecting relationships and health. Many dads are still coping with this form of toxic masculinity today.
‘I think not many dads know about their rights to flexible working, and often feel they have to just “man up”, and that’s what dads do. There could be more awareness and certainly more dialogue about it’Aidan
Dads and parents have legal rights to flexible work arrangements to spend more time with their families. In modern day, with the ongoing disintegration of gender ideologies and a growing awareness of mental health, dads can consider new flexible patterns of living that change their relationship to money, work and time management.
Prioritising what’s most important in life is a good way to make sure you are creating a healthy and beneficial work-to-life balance. Prioritising having enough time with your family, paying bills and stripping it back to what matters most. Noticing when you are taking on too much work, when things become unbalanced.
This involves asking yourself the hard types of questions:
- ‘Should I be taking on this extra work, or am I already dealing with enough as it is this week?’
- ‘Am I fulfilling my role as a dad when I’m so exhausted from working overtime?’
The 2017 Modern Families Index Report found that ‘69 per cent of fathers said they would consider their childcare arrangements before they took a new job or promotion. Fathers are the more likely (47 per cent) to want to downshift into a less stressful job and 38 per cent would be willing to take a pay cut to achieve a better work-life balance, reflecting the difficulty they face in reconciling work and home life.’
Whilst being successful in business is all well and good, your health should come first. Pay attention to your body, because everything is connected: stress can manifest itself physically, so if you are feeling aches and pains that don’t seem to be going away you may need to look towards your work-to-life balance and find some ways to unwind.
Looking after yourself by setting boundaries and avoiding burn out will help you to be the best dad you can be for your kids. A happy dad with more time to spend at home is better in the long run than an angry, stressed-out dad. And, of course, being the best version of yourself for your is a great and long-lasting measure of success!
The Harvard Medical School says that ‘Constant stress — whether from a traffic-choked daily commute, unhappy marriage, or heavy workload — can have real physical effects on the body. It has been linked to a wide range of health issues, including mood, sleep, and appetite problems.’
If you feel like you are overworking yourself, you could use the five stages of burn out to check in with yourself and seek change if needs be.
ARE YOU MEASURING SUCCESS IN MONEY?
“It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.”George Lorimer
Dads feel extra pressure to work hard and win the bread. It’s a societal issue that is becoming increasingly outdated as parental roles merge, but still has it’s affects on dad’s and men’s work mentalities in general. It should be considered that there is more to success than money. Success can be measured in many ways – finding happiness in hobbies, working on yourself and healthy relationships, creating amazing memories with your children etc.
Being career driven can be very rewarding, until it’s affecting your happiness and relationships. If it becomes the thing that makes other parts of your life harder, then it no longer serves the same purpose.
Check in with yourself.
Check out our article: ‘The Return To the Workplace Post Lockdown’ for more information about flexible working and avoiding burn out.