Jamie Beaglehole (38) from Leicester is in a same sex relationship with his partner Tom. They have two sons – Lyall (10) and Richard (9).
Jamie is self employed and works as a full time blogger running the Daddy and Dad blog from home and working flexibly around his children. His partner Tom is a full time Account Director for a tech firm based in Cambridge. This is his view on work life balance and how they have made it work as a couple.
Before Tom and I became parents in 2014, we both worked full time in sales and marketing positions. I was the Manager of Digital Marketing for a promotional agency and Tom was (and still is) the Account Director for a technology firm based down in Cambridge. When Lyall and Richard were placed with us, I was able to take nine months’ adoption leave and then returned to work part time. But the business was under pressure from its largely European clients during the early days of Brexit so I chose redundancy over prolonged uncertainty and cutbacks.
From redundancy to flexibility
Back then, redundancy felt like a huge crisis. But over time it enabled me to develop my blog into a fulfilling business that offers fantastic flexibility. Tom’s career continued to flourish and increasingly involved foreign travel so it was important for me to build a business to operate around school and family commitments.
Being self employed and building up a business around the blog has really paid off and worked out fantastically, not only for me as a job but for the family as we enjoy extraordinary experiences together. Depending on workload I tend to average about 30 hours’ work each week, plus events and travel at weekends with the family. The key thing for me is flexibility so I can be there for the boys as they grow up.
What needs to change for dads at work?
In my experience, employers get more commitment and quality from employees, male and female when a family/work balance is actively encouraged. Childcare costs a fortune and isn’t always viable; not least for people who have children via adoption or children with extra needs.
The physical locality of employees will hopefully become irrelevant as remote working becomes the new default for most administrative or previously ‘office-based’ positions.
Currently I feel the real issue is that society’s masculine culture prevents dads, even when the flexibility is there, sharing parental leave and experiencing collaborative parenthood. So, women are more likely to take on the role of primary carer. The answer could be to challenge the culture and expectations of dads in the workplace.
Hopes for the future
By the time my sons are grown-up and planning families of their own in ten, maybe twenty years, I would hope the culture in their workplace encourages them to take adequate time out to spend with their children.
Thanks to Jamie for sharing his case study. If you have a case study of dads at work we should feature, please get in touch.