Working fatherhood takes work. Fatherhood introduces new responsibilities and routines. It changes relationships and adds new ones. It is a shift in identity that provides an opportunity for self-reflection. Modern fathers have taken on a more active role in their families. Mark, a working father and a member of a family with two working parents, spoke to us about his experience.
How do you experience being a working dad? What does your day generally look like as a working dad?
In the midst of COVID-19, I wake up at around 7am, whenever my daughter wakes up. I get her ready to head to her grandparents who are in quarantine and are graciously watching her 5 days a week since our nanny cannot come due to the pandemic.
If time permits, I will do a 7 minute HIIT workout I discovered online. I get coffee and a little breakfast before logging onto work and attending a daily team conference call. I also try to have lunch with my wife, who is also working remote, or at least take a quick walk around the neighborhood with her.
After I finish work, I aim to go running, or to get on the stationary bike. Otherwise, I will also clean up around the house a bit. We eat dinner together and if time permits, we’ll all go on a family walk before my daughter’s bedtime. When everyone is asleep, I usually try to do some night prayer, meditation, and journaling, and then head to bed.
What do you love about your career?
I am a government contracts attorney for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. I enjoy the process of providing a service to my client where their work has a direct impact on the lives of our nation’s veterans.
What do you love about being a dad?
I love continuing to be in awe when I look at my daughter knowing that my love of my wife is, in part, realized through this physical and independent human being that is half me and half my wife. I enjoy seeing her growth and how our relationship continues to develop. I also enjoy reflecting on how much the experience is changing me as a person for, I believe the better, even if change at times is difficult and uncomfortable.
How do you and your partner support each other with household needs and childcare?
Fortunately, childcare is handled by my in-laws during the pandemic. I usually am communicative with the laundry schedule and doing the laundry, as well as the dishes almost on a daily basis. I also am responsible for removing all weekly trash and recycling. I currently also track finances and budget. My wife does the cooking, and folds our daughter’s laundry. She also tidies our daughter’s room. We share bathroom cleaning duties.
Where do you wish you could help out more? What would it take for this to happen?
I wish I could cook more. I would like to get more Filipino food recipes from my parents so that I can incorporate them into our family meals. Cooking is an outlet of creativity and a fulfilling activity. To make that work,I would need to work out before everyone wakes up and be more involved in grocery shopping.
In an ideal world, what would it look like to be a truly happy, working dad?
I would work a job that can financially support our family entirely with flexibility to be either in an office, or work remotely. I would see my daughter often. I would also love to plan trips where we’d live in a different city for 3 weeks or a month where we can explore a locale and I can do a combination of remote work and vacation. My current job is flexible and, with planning and budgeting, this could be possible.
What are you really proud of?
Navigating our marriage in the midst of a big transition into parenthood, continued self-reflection and growth, and an attempt to enrich my life mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.