Why Are More Fathers Feeling 'Guilty'?

27/06/2017 13:28 BST | Updated 27/06/2017 13:28 BST

It's been a busy time for dads recently. The focus on dads in the recent general election was a first for all parties across the board, and more recently many a dad would have enjoyed a great Father's Day I hope.

But in the midst of all that excitement, research from Working Families may have slipped under the radar, but the results shows us how much more progress is needed for modern day dads.

Over 300 fathers took part in the Working Families survey which revealed that:

• More than a third of fathers (36%) say their current working arrangements don't support them to fulfil childcare responsibilities.

• Four out of ten fathers (40%) want to play a more active role in the upbringing of their children.

• One in five fathers (18%) want to share childcare responsibilities more equally with their partner.

A different dynamic

Let the joy happen. #daddilifeoftheday by @rossco.bossco 🏅

A post shared by A Community Of Fatherhood (@daddilife) on

With recent research also revealing that 72% of working dads are close to burnout what is clear here is that modern day dads are increasingly facing a tension - in their working lives they are pushing themselves to the limit, and in their home lives they desperately want more time to fulfill their childcare and family responsibilities better.

Driving more dad 'guilt'

Worse still, there's a genuine lose - lose scenario developing mentally, with 1 in 5 dads admitting that they feel constantly guilty. Dads feel guilty when they spend too long at work, at the expense of time with their children, and they feel guilty when they spend too much time at home, to the detriment of their roles as breadwinners.

A recent poll of 1,200 dads for Today.com and Fatherly found even more striking results. It found that 63% of working dads envied their stay-at-home counterparts, while 28% felt guilty about not making enough money to provide for their families in the way they'd like.

Some commentators believe that dads are now feeling the same kind of guilt that mums have experienced for decades. As modern dads become more involved in the day-to-day care of children, while at the same time feeling traditional pressures to provide financially for their families, this guilt tension is only likely to grow.

Has something got to give?

As much as there have been great efforts in recent times to promote the dad -agenda, one key area where that conversation is still lacking is the employer-employee one. Perhaps there are still entrenched views at play in the work-place about dads and specifically what they need to feel productive while contributing to their work and family lives? Part of this is also because what modern day dads want is, in many ways, expressed so differently to what their father's before them had. Some of the views expressed by the dads in the video above really highlights how much further we have to go.

It's vital that if dads want to keep creating the right balance in their lives, that having those serious discussion need to happen now. We have a way to go yet, and I'd love to hear from dads going through this and what they're trying to do to manage it.