While most diaper commercials feature a smiling mother watching her baby as it cruises around the living room with the diaper wrapped securely in place, I’ve noticed a number of them showcasing the father in that role. With most advertising for household products and services targeting women, it can be easy to forget that men play a large role in family matters as well.
More responsibilities can prove to be very stressful. In a cross-sectional study of employed men by the Work and Family Institute, it was found that men feel more pressure and stress from the demands of both work and family than they did in previous years. The picture of the ideal man has changed in the past three decades to include more responsibilities; not only does he work to support his family financially, he also plays an active role as a father, husband and son.
The current state of the economy also makes it difficult to balance all of these responsibilities. For the most part, average wages are flat, job demands have increased, job insecurity is greater, and the boundaries between work and home life have broken down.
49% of employed men with families report work-family conflict, which is up from 39% in 1977. Various factors affect how much conflict was reported. 55% of men with children under the age of 18 years old reported work-family stresses. 60% of men who work longer hours (50+ hours a week) reported conflict compared to 39% of men who worked 40 to 49 hours a week. What’s interesting is that 54% of men who hold traditional values of male and female roles reported more conflict compared to 40% of men who rejected those roles.
The study said that supportive coworkers and flexible scheduling appear to lessen the conflicts between work and family.
Understanding these areas in which men are anxious and stressed about can help pinpoint and tailor messages that will resonate with today’s working man.