The Question We Need To Start Asking Men

The love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege.
Charles Kuralt
One of the big issues brought up constantly about gender inequality is the fact that professional women are asked how they plan to balanced their professional life with their family life, yet men where never asked this. Corporate society expects women to prioritize their role as a wife or a mother above their professional ambitions, yet this kind of expectation isn’t placed on men. After so many years of men expected to neglect their family life, maybe it’s time asking them the same question and expect them to have an answer.

There is a social assumption that the role of the man is simply to be a good provider. The harder he works, the more he demonstrates how dedicated he is to his family. If this is true, why do so many men feel guilty about neglecting their family because of work? Why do so many spouses or kids feel neglected by an absentee father whose only role within the family is that of a the guy who pays the bills? Why do so many men made to feel that their role in society is to be little more than a credit card holder?

This needs to change. Too often men assume that the only way to be a real man is to be a good provider, even if this means sacrificing their family life. They are told to equate professional success with their success as a husband or father, never wanting to realize the damage we do to men and their families when creating that relationship. We need to start asking men to balance their professional life with their personal life.

Keep in mind that I am not talking about not providing for your family. What I am talking about is to keep priorities about what’s important in life. We need to open our eyes before we damage ourselves and those around us beyond repair.

Ambitious and competitive professional behavior has been ingrained so deeply within our mind that we end up assuming that the only way to succeed within our modern corporate world is to neglect our family. “I am providing my family a better life” has become the mantra that most use to justify their actions, without realizing how a truly better life for your family doesn’t come from a bigger TV or even a bigger home. It comes from having a bigger heart and the time to share it.

Yet that neglect of our family is viewed by so many bosses as a sign of disloyalty to the employment. They will try to blackmail and shame you into submission under the threat of someone else getting a promotion, the raise, or simply the risk of losing your job. Honestly? If your boss is making you choose between your work and your family, it’s time to find a new job. Changing jobs is a lot easier than getting a divorce or the guilt of neglecting a child.

Don’t turn your role within your family into simply a walking wallet and then complain that they don’t view you as anything else. By the same token, don’t let anyone in your family turn you into a walking wallet. Get involved and become an actual part of the family and the home. Spend time with your spouse and have fun with your kids. Getting to know what does on in their lives is a lot more important than covering the bill for their lives. In the case of divorce, covering your financial obligations DOES NOT excuse you from your familial obligations. In reality, your familial obligation to your kids far exceeds any child support agreement you have.

With all this in mind, don’t let anyone reduce your role in life to a bank account. The first person that needs to stop doing this is you. Work shouldn’t be the reason to live, but a tool to get a life. Learn to value yourself and those around you. Jobs come and go, so does money. At the end, you are simply left with the smiles and laughter you shared with those close to you.