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Can men have it all? Fathers also struggle to find work-life balance

Can men have it all? It's a provocative question after decades of women facing the same dilemma over the push-pull of work and family obligations.
/ Source: TODAY Contributor

Can men have it all? It’s a provocative question after decades of women facing the same dilemma over the push-pull of work and family obligations.

Dad trying to work from home
Henk Badenhorst / Getty Images stock

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This month’s Esquire magazine tackles the issue head on and explains why “Why Men Still Can't Have It All.”

“All of the data suggest that men face the same problems as women do,” said Richard Dorment, senior editor at Esquire.

In an average week, modern dads are spending nearly triple the time on direct child care, and more than double the time on housework, than their fathers or grandfathers did in the 1960s, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the Census Bureau data on how Americans spend their time.

Father helping daughter with homework
Father helping daughter with homeworkGetty Images stock

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If they are employed, chances are they are putting in more than 40 hours at work, too.

As gender roles converge, so does the pressure to do it all.

“We have the rule that if someone cooks, the other person cleans,” said Hugh Kenney, a father of two who is doing more around the home. Both he and his wife Melissa work full time, yet Kenney says he feels more pressure to provide.

“It's what we as men try to aspire to, at least me,” Kenney said. He travels three days a week for work as a consultant, so he can't always be there for his kids, part of a generation of men experiencing “Daddy guilt.”

“Missing you know, a soccer practice here or some stuff at daycare,” he said. But he doesn’t regret any sacrifices he’s made.

So can anyone have it all?

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Hal Edward Runkel, a marriage and family therapist, told TODAY’s Matt Lauer that’s not the question to ask.

“It’s this ridiculous notion that we’re supposed to have everything we want at all the time we want it and that’s never going to happen,” Runkel said.

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“What we have to do is… prioritize. Figure out: what do you want most? Because failure is whenever we sacrifice what we want most for what we want right now.”