“Flexibility can provide him with more control over his time and allow him to be present with his family without impacting business objectives.”

Aidan, Founder of TMFC

Career Dad: What Employers Can Do to Support Dads in the UK.

In today's world, fathers are faced with the challenge of balancing their work commitments with creating a nurturing environment where their children can thrive. The traditional division of labour within families is becoming more fluid, as more women enter the workforce and contribute to the financial stability of their households. This, in turn, opens up opportunities for fathers to be more engaged in their children's lives.

However, with these changes come unique challenges. Fathers often find themselves caught between the expectations of their employers, the dynamics within their relationships, and the desire to be present and involved in their children's lives. The weight of societal pressures and long-standing stereotypes can cast a shadow, leading to feelings of guilt and doubts about their parenting approach. But amidst these challenges, there is a growing recognition of the immense benefits that involved fathers bring to their children's development. Research shows that children with actively engaged fathers tend to have better cognitive, emotional, and social outcomes.

Challenges Faced by Career Dads – A Lack of Work-Life Balance

Career dads often struggle to balance their professional commitments with their family responsibilities. Balancing work and family is like walking a tightrope. At times, it feels like you have everything under control, and then something unexpected happens, throwing off your delicate balance. In this section, we will discuss practical strategies and techniques that can help you navigate this juggling act.

As his employer it’s important to understand that providing the resources and support is key. However, the strategy must work for dad. Each person's circumstances are unique, and what works for one may not work for another. For dad, it all begins with him reflecting on:

  • The needs of his children,

  • His own needs,

  • His partner’s needs, and of course

  • The expectations of his employer.

By differentiating between wants and needs, he can focus on what truly matters. As his employer you need to facilitate open discussions with him on key topics like:

  • Time management

  • Boundaries

  • Effective communication

  • Flexible working

  • Financial impact of decision making

Practical strategies to help him find that all important balance.

First, effective time management is essential. Quality time with his children is precious, but he might also be thinking about career growth and future opportunities.  By prioritising and maximising the available time with his, he can create meaningful connections. Planning and scheduling dedicated family time can be instrumental to maintaining that all important, healthy work-life balance.

Setting boundaries is another crucial aspect. Boundaries at work, home, and in relationships allow him to be clear on his commitment to his family. Learning to say no and creating space for himself, his family, and his work commitments is vital. By setting clear expectations with his boss, clients, colleagues, and family members, he can avoid feeling obligated to sacrifice things that matter.

Effective communication plays a significant role in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. It's important to have open conversations with an employer about family commitments. Starting this dialogue early, even before paternity leave, can help you work together and discus flexible work arrangements. Communication is equally important at home, as financial implications and the pressures of returning to work can add stress to the family dynamics.

Exploring opportunities for flexible working is another valuable strategy. Flexibility can provide him with more control over his time and allow him to be present with his family without impacting the businesses objectives.

Lastly, employers need to better support working families by helping direct them to the resources that help them better understand the financial impact of maternity and paternity leave. This can help the family feel more secure, but also help both parents work on getting back into the workforce after maternity is finished.

Parental Mental Health: Recognising and Addressing Challenges.

It is essential to acknowledge and support fathers' mental health throughout this journey.

Statistics reveal that a vast majority of men will become fathers at some point in their lives. However, it's alarming to note that 3-10% of new fathers develop depression during pregnancy and post-birth. Additionally, suicide remains the highest killer of men between the ages of 20-49. These figures highlight the critical importance of recognising and addressing paternal mental health challenges.

Postnatal depression in fathers, commonly known as PND, is a real phenomenon. The struggle and exhaustion of parenthood can indeed be part of the experience, but it's crucial to understand when it becomes more than just adaptation. The fine line between the early pressures of fatherhood and PND can be crossed unknowingly. It's important to remember that the arrival of a baby is not the sole factor that can push fathers toward PND; buried or ignored issues can resurface during this transformative period.

The pressures faced by fathers today differ from those experienced by previous generations. Lack of resources, education, and preparation can catch fathers off guard. The failure to mentally prepare for the significant shift in everyday life can leave him feeling overwhelmed. Often, fathers overlook or ignore the symptoms, hoping they will pass. However, it's essential to recognise that prolonged unaddressed challenges can have short-term and long-term consequences for both the individual and the family unit. It's essential to emphasise the significance of recognising and addressing these challenges. By supporting fathers' mental well-being, you help support healthier and happier families. 

Societal Expectations and Stereotypes

In the past, fathers were primarily seen as breadwinners and disciplinarians. Society had clear expectations of their roles, emphasising their responsibility to provide for their families. However, societal stigmas and stereotypes surrounding masculinity further complicate the mental health journey for fathers.

The notion that men should always embody strength, resilience, and emotional detachment can prevent them from seeking help or expressing their struggles. This societal pressure creates a sense of isolation and internalised stress, exacerbating mental health challenges for fathers. It's crucial to recognise the negative impact of these stereotypes and work towards overcoming them.

On the other hand, positive masculinity plays an important role in fatherhood. As a father of two boys, I'm acutely aware of the societal expectations placed upon me in raising them. I believe in teaching my boys positive traits while also encouraging them to understand and navigate their emotions during challenging moments at home. It's a learning curve for me, influenced by the lessons passed down through generations of fathers in my family.

Today, fathers are expected to be more actively involved in their children's lives, taking on responsibilities that go beyond financial support. However, navigating these evolving expectations can be complex. For instance, as a father working from home, I bear a significant portion of the strain, especially when it comes to drop-offs and balancing household chores. While being present at home fosters a stronger connection with my children, it can also lead to feelings of isolation and a blurring of boundaries between work and personal life.

It is important for fathers to strike a balance between traditional notions of masculinity and the modern expectation of being emotionally available and actively engaged with their children. Presence, engagement, and open communication are key. Fathers must prioritise their own well-being and seek appropriate support systems to navigate the shifting expectations and stereotypes.

It's crucial to challenge and overcome these stereotypes for the betterment of fathers' mental health and overall well-being. By breaking free from societal pressures, fathers can embrace their roles more fully and create healthier, more fulfilling relationships with their children.

The Power of Support: Building a Community for Working Fathers/Importance of Support Systems: Helping Fathers Navigate the Pressures of Fatherhood

Engaging men in conversations about mental health can be challenging. That's why creating a space where dads can connect, and share experiences is crucial. Monthly forums or meetings can provide a safe environment for confidential conversations. Access to resources like TMFC (The Modern Fatherhood Club’s Community) can enhance support and awareness.

Employers play a vital role in supporting working fathers. Well-being sites or intranet platforms can be used to signpost events and resources. Special occasions like Father's Day, Men's Mental Health Week, and Parental Mental Health Week offer opportunities to create awareness. Designated physical spaces within the workplace can be used for meetings and support group gatherings. Employers can champion and support these events to encourage participation and engagement.

Diversity and inclusion should include both mums and dads. Incorporating discussions on the challenges faced by working dads within Diversity and Inclusion committees provides a comprehensive understanding of modern parenting experiences. Engaging returning moms and gaining insights into the challenges faced by working dads contribute to a supportive work environment.

Individuals can actively contribute to supporting working dads. Well-being champions or designated mental health first aiders can provide relatable support. Early interaction upon a dad's return to work helps establish support systems. Connecting with dads before they go on paternity leave ensures they have access to resources and understand the policies. Encouraging engagement and providing tailored support is crucial for the well-being of working fathers.

Resources for supporting working fathers are continually expanding. Tailored approaches can be discussed and implemented to provide effective support. Keeping dads engaged and providing access to well-being tools, advice, and shared experiences is important. Signposting financial resources helps dads understand the costs of having a baby and the impact on their lives. Acknowledging the financial burden of childcare and the partner's career path is essential for a holistic approach to support.


Supporting career dads is not only essential for their well-being but also for the success of organisations. By acknowledging the challenges faced by career dads and implementing strategies to address them, employers can foster a supportive and inclusive work environment. Embracing work-life balance, promoting equality, and providing resources will benefit career dads while contributing to enhanced employee satisfaction, improved productivity, and a stronger company culture.


“By acknowledging the challenges faced by career dads and implementing strategies to address them, employers can foster a supportive and inclusive work environment”

Aidan, Founder of TMFC


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