Happy almost Father’s Day!
Let’s hope all you dads out there get a chance to spend the day relaxing with your families, rather than dwelling on all the stress and expense that has become part and parcel of modern fatherhood.
A Life Inc. post this week on the fact that more dads these days feel the pressure to “do it all” – succeed at work and be an involved dad and spouse – prompted a lot of discussion about whether there’s a double standard when it comes to family-friendliness at work.
About half of the more than 6,000 people who took our poll said employers don’t do enough to help dads balance work and home life.
“If a mom needs to take time off to care for kids, they get to -- no (questions asked). When a dad makes the same request, often he is told no,” one reader wrote.
But about a third said it depends on where you work, and that some employers are more supportive of dads.
“My husband works for a really great company that cares about its employees and their families. I suspect that's a rarity these days,” another reader wrote.
One thing both moms and dads have to struggle with: Balancing the budget while raising kids Another post this week looked at a government report showing that the total cost of raising a child, before college expenses, is expected to hit $234,900 for a child born in 2011 to a middle-income family.
Many readers said they could raise a child for less than that.
“It's called budgeting. That ‘bundle of joy’ doesn’t need Nike shoes, every new game player, clothing style or toy that comes along. Also, I’m not paying for my children’s college education. My father didn’t do it, his parents didn’t do it and their parents didn’t do it and we all did fine. Go in the military or learn a trade, work your way up, save money, budget and go to school on your own,” one reader wrote.
But other readers said they hoped they could provide their children with things like college tuition, to give them a leg up on life.
“When I was little, I remember being taught that the point of being a parent is to protect and raise your children while making the world a better place for your kids so they can make it better for their kids and so on,” one reader wrote.
Others said cost is one of the factors that is keeping them from having kids.
“Thanks, but I think I'll enjoy my life, follow my own dreams & travel the world instead. I mean, kids are cute and all, but I don't want one living in my house. Pretty much the same way I feel about chimpanzees,” one reader wrote.
If you do have kids, one of the many expenses you’ll have to consider is paying for the sitter. This week, we also looked at a report finding that babysitters cost an average of $12.75 an hour these days.
For many readers, the post brought back memories of when they worked at babysitter, earning far less than the going rate these days.
Some said this is one of the reasons they rarely, if ever, have a date night.
“We have literally never, not once, left the kids with a paid sitter. I didn't plan for it to end up that way, but sitters want more an hour than I make and I have yet to meet one that I'd feel good paying that much for. We have ‘date days’ once or twice a year when we use vacation time while the kids are at school. Having lunch out is much cheaper than having dinner out anyway. The whole idea is to spend time together, not to spend lots of money we don't have,” one reader wrote.