The truth about millennial parents
A healthy relationship, a high paying job, having lots of friends. All these things have at one time been considered a source of happiness for men across the nation. But according to a recent study conducted by the Boston College Center for Work & Family, the real ticket to happiness for millennial men might just be fatherhood.
The study surveyed 1,100 millennials, ages 22 to 35, who were employed at one of five top global companies in insurance, consulting, finance or accounting.
The first clear trend the researchers discovered was that millennial fathers reported a much higher satisfaction with their lives—at work and at home—than their single coworkers. These men were 20 to 40 percent more likely to believe that their lives were “excellent” and that they were living near their ideal.
The results may come as a surprise to some, considering the general idea surrounding millennials is that they wait longer to start a family, if they want to start one at all.
In comparison to millennial mothers, dads still find it slightly more difficult to have a healthy work-family balance. 15 percent of moms reported that it was difficult, compared to 19 percent of dads.
On the other hand, the study found that millennial fathers were slightly more concerned with career advancement and moving up the corporate ladder than millennial moms.
Seventy-four percent of moms said they wanted greater challenges at work, compared to 88 percent of dads, and 69 percent of millennial moms wanted to continue to be promoted at work, versus 82 percent of their male counterparts.
“There are mothers who very much want to move up the corporate ladder,” says Dr. Brittany Lakin-Starr, a licensed clinical psychologist at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “Unfortunately, although there has been much progress made for professional women, most current places of work are still not set up in ‘family friendly’ ways that allow for easy balancing of children while climbing the corporate ladder.”
The last significant finding, and perhaps the most interesting, is that millennial fathers who split their parental duties 50/50 with their spouse (“egalitarian” dads) were the group that reported being most satisfied with their lives.
These dads were compared to “traditional” dads, or those who believed their spouse should (and did) handle the majority of childcare responsibilities, and “conflicted” fathers, who believed the duties should be split evenly, but in reality, their spouse did more than they did.
Egalitarian dads reported the highest levels of feeling respected and a part of a group at their workplaces. They also were more likely to agree with a statement such as “If I had to live my life over, I would change almost nothing.”
“The egalitarian fathers showed a little more satisfaction than traditional fathers, and this may be because they are gaining some benefit from their increased involvement with their child—feeling appreciated, witnessing their child grow and change and feeling like they are successfully managing both the role of dad and the role of working professional,” says Dr. Lakin-Starr.
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