Daddy Track and Mommy Track Concerns
The concept of a “Mommy Track” has received quite a bit of attention over the years. The term refers to mothers who are placed by their employer in a different, and lesser, category than other women and men who do not have similar family demands vying for their time. Some believe that women on the Mommy Track receive lower pay and are less likely to be promoted at work. If so, this hurts both men and women because it affects the entire family's income and its prospects for the future.
Many fathers face a similar situation. They are put on a Daddy Track and regarded in a different light than other men, usually single, who are willing to devote long, long hours to the success of the organization. This is usually not overt and nothing is said openly. Still, many new fathers feel these pressures and are not sure what to do about them.
Earning a living is important to men. So is being able to spend time with their families. Polls consistently show that a vast majority of men prefer a work schedule that gives them time with their family. They would rather make a little less and spend more time at home than earn a high salary that requires them to be away a great deal.
Your Changing View of Work
The Daddy Track is a kind of glass ceiling for men. If you are perceived as something less than 100 percent devoted to the company, you are going to rise only so high in the ranks. After that, you will find that your head starts bumping against something that you cannot see but that is as hard as a rock. Men who work in sales jobs that require lots of travel are susceptible to being labeled as Daddy Trackers because they no longer wish to be gone so long from home.
Looked at from the employer's point of view, however, you can almost argue that the Daddy Track makes sense on some level. When you become a father, your values do change. You are not committed to work in quite the same way that you were before and you may not wish to put in the same hours you did in the past because you want to go home to be with your family. In short, your company's goals may no longer correspond with your own.
More Motivation to Work
Some employers do not place new fathers on a Daddy Track, and there are good reasons for this. They realize that new fathers are among the most motivated of their employees. New fathers suddenly have another mouth to feed in the family, and they know they had better keep their jobs.
Francis Ford Coppola, the director of The Godfather and many other movies, has talked about the trend nowadays for men to put off fatherhood until later and later in their life. Their thinking is that they want to establish themselves in their career before a baby comes along. Coppola, who is a father and grandfather, believes this attitude is backward. He feels that having a baby can serve as supreme motivation for a young man. You cannot screw around any longer in your career because you've got a little creature who is counting on you.
Moving into the Future
Many fathers avoid being put on a Daddy Track by going along with their company's program as a means of getting ahead in their career. In this way, they feel, they can make money and best help their family. Although their job may not give them as much time with their kids as they'd like, they swallow their regrets and move ahead. This way of doing things, however, may not work for you.
Ultimately, if you work for a company or organization that does not support your desire to be involved with your family, you may have to find a new job. It is as simple—or as hard—as that. Your life has changed, and your job and your lifestyle may no longer be a good fit.
Another thing you may realize—and you may have figured this out early in the pregnancy—is that your current job is not cutting it. The hours may be fine and the employer may be as flexible as a rubber band, but it just doesn't pay enough. At some point, you may have to start looking around for a new position or go back to school for more education that will help get you a better job with higher pay.