Tag Archives: Work-Life balance

Give Luongo a break

Roberto Luongo, all star NHL goaltender for the Vancouver Canucks, and his wife had a baby girl this week and it has caused a bit of a stir with some Canucks hockey fans about whether or not players should be given time off for personal events.

If you are not a hockey follower, the Canucks are in a battle for a playoff spot. Luongo is, arguably, their best player and a key element to their success. There are a few fans who are feeling a tad put out that such a key player is leaving at a crucial time of the season to be with his wife and new baby girl. To which I say – are you kidding me? This is even a question?

Obviously it is, considering some of the comments being posted in reply to the CBC website question: “Should teams give their star players time off for personal events?” Now the vast majority of comments are in support of Luongo, but there are a few that are critical.

Thousands of kids are born every day, but most hockey players will only have one chance to win a Stanley Cup — which is The Canadian Dream.

I question Luongo’s dedication to Vancouver. It rains there too much, so he prefers Florida.

They guy makes 6+ Million a year and has the summer off. Dam rights he should be in the lineup every night.

Players should be forced to stay and play. Luongo is paid a great deal of money to play for the Vancouver Canucks.

You would actually expect someone to miss the birth of their child – his first child nonetheless – for a hockey game? This is just silly beyond belief and really shouldn’t be up for debate at all. Employees in other organizations get time off to be with their families for major life events. Just because he is a high profile, highly paid athlete doesn’t mean he should have to forgo being there for this moment.

Kudos to you, Roberto Luongo, for making what, I hope, was an easy decision. But knowing the circles you travel in and the pressure that is on you in a hockey mad world like ours at a time like this, I can’t imagine it was an easy one. You probably felt the pressure. But you’ve made the right decision.

A lunch with Mom

Kids are both in daycare today. Mom snuck home for lunch. I walked down the hill from work to join her. It’s the first time in I don’t know how long since the 2 of us have been alone in the house together with no kids.

No kids. Just her and I. Alone in the house. So naturally, we took advantage of the situation. She did the dishes and some telephone banking while I paid some bills, put away a bit of laundry and filed tax receipts. Before we knew it our time had passed and back to work we went.

You were expecting something else?

Sigh…how times have changed. But it was sure nice to carry on a running conversation with my wife in our kitchen without the constant tug at the pantleg or toodler mayhem raging in the background.

He’s 1, she’s 4 and Dad caught a real Man Cold

The Girl turns 4 today. A month ago, The Boy turned one. In between there was the month of December where Mom headed back to work after her 1 year mat leave and I (temporarily) stepped off the work track and climbed back in the SAHDle again.

It was only for a month, but I was looking forward to it with great anticipation. Too bad I didn’t follow my own rules, especially #1 – Lower Expectations.

The plan was supposed to be to not only spend time with the kids, but also begin acclimatizing The Boy to daycare in preparation for the new year when both my wife and I would be back at work. Along the way, The Girl was going to continue her 3 days a week routine at her preschool. It all looked good on paper, as they say. A few days a week with both the kids, a couple days with just The Boy and me and, depending on how the transition to daycare went, perhaps even a few days to myself in there.

Oh, how much I would get done! Imagine – having a full day to yourself? Oh the wonderful things that could be accomplished. Why, I could design a rocket ship, create a new high yielding crop that would triple the amount of food farmers could get off their land, and maybe even cure a horrible disease. And then after lunch I could paint the living room, watch the entire first season of the BBC’s version of The Office and catch up on all those 2006 World Cup soccer matches I recorded but never got around to watching.

Yes, I had plans. However, the plan I needed the most was a contingency plan. Three days into my month long “vacation” The Girl came down with the flu. She was out of action for a week. Meanwhile, The Boy and daycare was proving to be more difficult than I had imagined. I ended up spending hours with him at the center, trying to get him used to the new routine.

And then, (no doubt helped along by getting puked on by The Girl at 2 am one night) it was my turn. Now this wasn’t a normal flu…this was a full blown Man Cold.

The good news was that we were all fine by the time Christmas rolled around and had a great last week before we headed into our new routine with 2 working parents and kids in daycare.

So, while December didn’t turn out quite like I expected, I am grateful that we have managed to juggle everyones schedules enough so that the kids are in care only 3 days a week, thanks to some great bosses, creative scheduling and a very helpful daycare & preschool. Sure, Mom and I have wonky work weeks, but if it means that the kids get to spend more time with their parents then so be it. For them they have “Mommy days” where Mom is at home and Dad is at work, “Daddy days” where I am at home and she is at work and days at daycare. The downside to the working family schedule is that we only get one day a week (Sundays) where we are all together as a family. But for now, it’ll do.

Babypause: Dads in Germany take more time with kids

I love that term – babypause. German men are using it to refer to the time they take off work to spend with their kids.

In January, Germany changed its parental-leave laws to give new parents 2/3rds of their salary for up to 12 months, which can be extended to 14 months providing Dads take at least 2 of the months. Talk about incentive.

So far, the new law has been a hit. Last year, only 3.5% of German Dads took leave after their kids were born. So far this year, that number has more than doubled to 8.5%.

Thanks to EduKey for the lead.

Dadventure in the news

Dadventure and fellow Dad blogger Vancouver Dad were featured in an article about Dad bloggers in the Vancouver Province over the weekend.

The reporter, Matthew Ramsey, contacted me last week about the story. One of the things that he told me that was new information to me was the new Stats Can figures that show the number of Canadian fathers taking leaves from work to spend time with their kids has increased from 38 per cent in 2001 to 55 per cent in 2006. As Vancouver Dad points out in his post about it:

But the dads don’t stay home for nearly as long. Two-thirds of fathers returned to work within a month of the arrival of the child. It’s no wonder. While mothers usually took formal maternity leave, the dads tended to use vacation time or unpaid leave rather than paid parental leave.

One thing I am noticing with my circle of friends is the number of parents who are splitting their parental leave benefits. The federal government allows for up to 35 weeks of parental leave for either parent, and I know a few parents who are splitting this time between both parents. Dads may take the final 8-12 weeks and Mom may re-enter the workforce a few months sooner.

It’s still far from the ideal (as outlined in the Ministerial Advisory Committee on the Government of Canada’s Child Care Spaces Initiative released in the spring) where both parents could have equal lengths of time off in the first years of their children’s life, but it is a start. And is certainly is a lot better than prior to 2001 when the parental leave benefits were introduced.

Tiger and Ani

Tiger and Ani

I usually don’t blog about celebrities. I figure they get enough press without me giving them tons of ink. Especially when it comes to celebrities and kids these days as it seems that kids to celebrities are like the latest Louis Vuitton bag – a fashionable accessory – all the cool kids are having one.

But I have to make an exception for Tiger Woods. not because I am a golf fan, but because it looks like he is choosing his (soon to be) child over his career. Continue reading

Feeling a bit SAHD

Those of you who have read this blog for the past couple of years know that I have been a part-time stay at home Dad, staying home with The Girl a couple days a week. Well, after close to 2 years, my p/t SAHD days are over. I have started work at my new, full time job. Continue reading

Housework? Dad Can Do It!

News Flash!

Men CAN do housework AND take care of kids AND run a household just as well as women.

The findings are based on the results of a recent BBC reality TV show in Britain where all the wives and girlfriends in the village of Harby were sent away on a holiday. While they were frolicking in the sun, their partners were filmed getting to grips with child care, domestic chores and community projects. And surprise surprise – the men didn’t fall on their faces.

The piece is fun, but I do have to take exception with Jemima Lewis when she says

As bachelors, they often live quite contentedly in a sea of discarded underpants, beer cans and mouldy crockery. Nothing terrible happens as a consequence: they still manage to hold down jobs, make friends – even pull off the occasional seduction.

I know it is in fun and jest, but the underlying truth perpetuates the myth that all men are slobs, which is far from the truth. Anecdotally, I have known many women who are slobs and many guys who are fastidiously clean. I’d imagine that, like many things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle, but yet conventional wisdom holds that men are slobs and incapable of doing more than lying on the couch drinking beer and watching hockey and soccer…oh, wait a sec

In the meantime, good on ya Dads of Harby village, Nottinghamshire for showing a skeptical world once again that Dad can do it.


An article over at Minti called Parenting as Leadership Training got me thinking about how becoming a Dad has changed me.

The article points out that new Dads who work for Telia (a large Swedish telecom) are given the option of taking between 3 and 6 months off work with pay to stay at home with their kids because Telia believes that being a “stay at home dad” develops emotional intelligence and leadership ability.

Wouldn’t it be great if more companies took this approach and saw Dads staying at home with their kids as not only good for the family (and society in general), but also good for the corporate bottom line? Not only that, but staying home with the kids promotes family unity and harmony and I am a firm believer that the happier a person is in their home life, the more productive and effective they will be in their work life.

The article makes the point that men who stay at home with their kids:

…can also learn to develop more robust self-esteem by:

  • being able to put others first without feeling disappointed
  • learning to feel good about themselves even though they aren’t at work
  • reassessing their values–what is truly important to them?
  • learning the value of feelings and relationships, not just things.

I can relate. One of the big changes I have noticed about myself since becoming a Dad is how much my confidence has grown.

I imagine that I was like most first time Dad’s. When my wife first told me we were pregnant I was very naive about what that meant, not really knowing what to make of this news. I mean, I was ecstatic since this was what we were trying to do, but the whole thing seemed unreal. And then wham, reality hits you: Dude, you are a Dad. For me it happened about 3 months before our due date when I began dismantling my office and making way for the baby’s room.

At this point, I became a mess – indecisive, nervous, uncertain and doubtful that I could pull it off the Dad thing. For the next few months I doubted everything I knew – doubted my abilities, hedged my bets, and constantly reevaluated and second guessed decisions. Breast fed or formula? Cloth or disposable? What’s that rash? Should we go to the Doctor? What does the website say? Really, what about the book? Exactly the opposite….great. Am I stimulating my kid? Is she bored of me? Can I give my child the intellectual and emotional stimulation she needs or is she going to become a pumpkin? It was a living hell spending so much time and energy continually doubting yourself and your abilities.

Now, with a couple of years under my belt, I feel much more confident in my abilities as a father and I am finding that this is spilling over into my “non-Daddy” life. I feel like I can tackle things that I never thought I would be able to do and succeed at them.

I guess that is how you build confidence and self-esteem: by successfully doing something you doubted you could do, and then transferring that feeling of success into other areas of your life. And I guess that is what forward thinking companies like Telia are betting on; that once their Dad’s come back to work with confidence in their ability to tackle one of the biggest challenges life throws at them, they will have the confidence to tackle any corporate challenge.

Works for me.