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Dad working from home

Moms often turn to one another for support in juggling work and family, but there's plenty we can learn from the work-at-home dads, too.

Parenting tips from work-at-home dads

In this issue of Working Mom 3.0, writer Stephanie Taylor Christensen offers advice from work-at-home dads for some clever new solutions to the riddle that is working at home with kids.

It's been said that we eventually become our mothers; I'm starting to realize just how true that statement is. Just as I'm sure my mom, who put her career as an X-ray technician on hold to raise my sister and me realized several decades ago, there is a great irony to being the parent who stays at home. You get the biggest hugs, but your house rules tend to fall on "deaf ears," compared to directions given by your spouse. You are the firsthand witness to all the precious (and precocious) times, yet you're almost always unsure if you're doing right, wrong, too much or not enough, to prepare your kids for the challenges of life. Moms usually get the bulk of the credit for being the omnipotent parent, but there are many aspects of my own husband's parenting style that I'll freely admit are more effective — and completely counterintuitive — to my own way of thinking.

As work-at-home moms, we're hard-wired to multitask and perform under stress to get every job done (and then some) — even if it means subjecting ourselves to massive amounts of stress and far too little sleep. Which got me thinking... what can we learn from our work-at-home dad counterparts? Here are some unique tips straight from the mouths of work-at-home dads — that may be completely against your own work-at-home way — and totally worth trying!

Establish boundaries

Work-at-home internet marketer Eric Nagel has found success letting his three kids (ages 7, 9 and 13) come into his office when they need him — except for the times that he's swamped. It's then that the family adheres to the "FBI" rule: "They're only allowed to bother me if there's a Fire, Blood or Intruder," says Nagel.

Be co-workers

Andres Riggioni has found success as a work-at-home dad not in burying his nose in work, but instead, by talking through what he's doing as he's working, with his 2-year-old son. "He will play for hours near me with minimal interruption as long as he hears me talking. So, I read my emails or documents I'm writing out loud. Sometimes he'll join in and repeat phrases or words, but mostly he's just happy that I'm reading and keeping him in the loop."

Commit both to "we time" and "work time"

Independent insurance broker Liran Hirschkorn says the key to his success as a work-at-home dad is devoting separate time and attention to his kids, and to work. By waiting for his daughter's bus to drop her off after school, sharing snacktime and taking the dog for a short walk, he and his daughter have a chance to connect and talk about the day, free of work-at-home distractions. "My daughter then feeds the dog (her job), starts homework and I get back to working. This 30-minute break shows my daughter the importance of spending time together," and demonstrates that there is a time for work and family—and that both are important.

Working Mom 3.0

The modern woman is redefining what it means to have a successful career. Rather than feeling torn between climbing the corporate ladder and having a happy family life, many women are choosing to merge the two and transition careers from a traditional role to a more flexible one. Working Mom 3.0 is reinventing the definition of "working mom," as office hours are held at home and revolve around nap times.

This column begins by chronicling the experiences of Stephanie Taylor Christensen, a former marketing professional turned self-employed stay-at-home mom, writer and yoga instructor, as she strives to redefine "having it all" on her own time and terms.

More tips for working moms

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Working Mom 3.0: Home office and the holidays
Working Mom 3.0: 3 Ways to benefit from failure


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Comments on "Working Mom 3.0: Father knows best?"

Katie January 01, 2013 | 2:15 PM

Yes, whether you work from home or at an office, it's important to establish boundaries and a routine. Give your kids your undivided attention when you can, and let them know you love them.

Liran Hirschkorn November 10, 2012 | 9:29 AM

Great to see other working dads dedicating time to spend with the kids while balancing work. Excellent way to teach our kids the value of hard work as well as the value of family time.

Jennifer November 07, 2012 | 10:41 AM

Great article! I believe in establishing boundaries. Children need to realize that the work mommy or daddy does at home is no less important than work he or she would do at an office. Therefore, parents shouldn’t hesitate to lay down some rules so they can have interruption-free moments to focus on work. Eric Nagel’s “Fire, Blood, Intruder” rule is a great example of this.

Lauren November 06, 2012 | 11:22 AM

I liked this! Great advice to give the kids special time during the day and then get back to work. Taking breaks for you and your children is a necessity.

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