The world’s social landscape is changing rapidly. Fifty years ago men had a very clear-cut role in the household. Go to work and make money. Pay the bills, support your family. But times are changing and have changed quite a bit already.
Men’s roles at home, at work and personal time are radically different than they used to be.
Men are expected to take a more active role in the household and child rearing. Employment roles are changing and different than what used to be expected. And the notion of self care for men is a new and interesting concept. The most important part of navigating this new social landscape is finding balance between all three in a way that is healthy and helps to form and maintain healthy relationships.
A man’s role in the home has changed a lot from our fathers and grandfathers time. This change can only be described as for the better. Men these days are more involved in their children’s lives. They are taking an increasingly active role in the running of the household, rather than leaving it all in their wife’s hands. A major reason for this is the increased number of women entering the work force very soon after child birth.
With the cost of childcare being as high as it is, it often makes more sense for parents to split the child-rearing duties. In other cases, the woman in a relationship is the primary breadwinner so she returns to work and her husband takes paternity leave to care for the infant at home. Many men are also finding that they prefer to spend time with their children, taking on a role that has traditionally been reserved for women.
To go along with increased expectations in the home; men are still facing heavy pressure and expectations in the workplace. There is still an expectation to be the breadwinner. To bring home the bacon, as the saying goes.
Men adapting to shared roles in the home may still face prejudice at work due to their gender. A man who takes time off to care for a sick child may face reprimand. He may even find himself being questioned as to why he is taking time off, or why his wife can’t do it. Whereas a woman would almost never face similar reprimand for taking time off for her children. In addition to it being more difficult for men to take time off in order to care for children, there is also still stigma associated with job expectations.
As mentioned above, some men are taking paternity leave while their wives return to work full time. While this can be incredibly emotionally fulfilling and help create a wonderful bond with his children, it is not
without its difficulties.
There are very few “dad” groups for men to get together with other dads and their children. However, there is a huge number of “mom” groups. Non-gender segregated groups like library sponsored play groups are still dominated by moms. Leaving men feeling increasingly on the periphery of a world they are trying so hard to be a part of. The modern father needs modern support. Denver Men's Therapy is here help navigate these difficult waters and to provide support.
A major factor impacting the modern man is self care.
Previous decades would not have seen men taking the time to address their mental health. Or sometimes even physical health. The trope of the man who avoids the doctor is so prevalent it has shown up in many tv shows and across pop culture.
Nowadays however self care is becoming increasingly more important as men’s roles become more complex. Access to resources for men are becoming more mainstream. And it is not seen as a weakness to admit that you may not be feeling well.
Whether mentally or physically. More men are taking the time to address issues they are having, which can only be a good thing. Psychotherapy for men is now seen as not only mainstream, but also one key into unlocking the modern man’s full potential.
The key to organizing life and managing these changes is finding balance.
Figuring out the best way for you to balance the expectations of your family and work place while still finding time to make sure you are fundamentally ok. There are many ways to achieve this. Communication is key to all of them. The first and best thing you can do is make sure you have a clear idea what is expected of you.
As well make sure that those around you know what you need. Don’t assume your wife knows you are exhausted after work, let her know. But make sure you are not using that as an excuse to do nothing.
Instead set aside some time to recharge. Take a nap or spend an hour after work tossing darts in the garage. Then step away from your personal time and engage with your family.
In those simple steps, balance between work time, me time and family time is achieved. Of course, this
is only one example and it may not be that simple. In addition to communication with your family, communication with your co workers and boss is also key. Book time off well in advance but also let your boss know it’s non-negotiable in certain situations.
Referring to the example above, if you are coming home exhausted everyday then another solution would be to discuss these issues with your boss or human resources department. In the self care department, taking time for yourself is just as important as work time and family time. In the same way that you
schedule in your work hours, schedule in time for yourself. Make sure you communicate these
needs to your family and friends et cetera.
There are many ways to navigate the changing social constructs of the modern man and maintain balance for ourselves. Remembering that you are not alone in feeling lost or confused by changing expectations.
And don’t be afraid to speak to a professional if you are having difficulty achieving that balance. There are lots of ways therapist here at Denver Men’s Therapy can help you to learn self care techniques, find life balance and work on your communication skills. Society is moving forward and the best thing that everyone can do is work hard to move forward with it.