New College of Education study explores how tenure-track fathers negotiate work-family conflicts | Feature Stories
Sick kids. Sleepless nights. Conflicts between work and daycare.
Although research suggests that most dual-income couples share parenting duties, many people still believe that mothers are the true primary caregivers. And the most beleaguered.
But according to a new qualitative study out of The University of Texas at Austin, male tenure-track professors are experiencing their own set of work-family conflicts as well.
Just ask Jack, a father of two young children and a tenure-track assistant professor in the natural sciences:
“I could sleep standing up. The baby had an earache last night and cried for eight hours straight. My preschooler had the usual meltdown this morning as we were leaving and wouldn’t put his shoes on. I had an 8:30 meeting but didn’t get in until 9:00, and I didn’t remember until that minute that I’d volunteered to bring bagels.”
The difficulties mothers face shouldn’t be discounted. Biology is a factor — tenure demands usually coincide with the childbearing years. But fatherhood and career demands pose their own conflicts.
“As father involvement and work-family conflict increase across occupations, it seems to be manifest in these stressors,” said Dr. Richard Reddick, an assistant professor in the College of College of Education’s Department of Educational Administration.