How to be a happy working Dad

finding more happiness as a working father

Hello there to our readers who are fathers or have them in their lives. This one’s for you.

Down the street from me lives Jeremy Adam Smith. Our sons mix it up in the same second grade and we’ve become playdate pals by association. In fact, his son’s legs are on the real balance board I showed you last week.

Jeremy recently wrote about the ten secrets to being a happy working father based on his academic/scientific research and personal experience, and I wanted to share it with you.

Here’s an excerpt from How to be a Happy Working Dad, Part One:

1. Find yourself a family-friendly workplace—and decide how much money that’s worth to you.
When I was weighing this job against another that paid more money, I actually monetized that flexibility. How much was I willing to pay for the ability to pick up my son from school, take him to the dentist, bring him by the office? My answer was $5,000 a year. In other words, that’s the amount I was willing and able to sacrifice to be the working father I wanted to be.

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And one from Part Two:

10. Make your choices and own the consequences.

Most grown-ups understand that you can’t “have it all”—you have to decide what’s most important to your family and then make the necessary trade-offs. It could fall to you to support a partner and children, in which case you’re just not going to make every soccer game. You could also end up becoming the primary caregiver—which will sidetrack your career. In a world of choices, it’s inevitable for us to be haunted by the roads we didn’t take.

The trick is to love the one we’re walking—and keep going. But accepting your own choices isn’t enough: It’s also critical for you to accept your partner’s choices, and for your partner to be content with yours. That’s no magic formula for making that happen—just a constant process of communication, negotiation, and empathy.

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Jeremy Adam Smith is Web Editor of the Greater Good Science Center and a 2013 fellow with the Institute for Justice and Journalism. He is also the author or co-editor of four books, including The Daddy Shift, Rad Dad, and The Compassionate Instinct. You can also follow him on Twitter or see him in my neighborhood on a bike!