New-Father Fears

Worry #2

"I can't be a good dad and focus on my career."

Striking a semblance of balance between the office and family life is a juggling act for every working parent. Dads, though, may find it especially difficult. Moms can often take up to 12 weeks maternity leave, but many men can swing only a few days out of the office. Even those who have paternity leave may be afraid to take the time because they worry about damaging their career.

Help Dad Deal: Encourage your partner to broach paternity leave with his boss as early as possible and to take all the time he's entitled to, says Kyle Pruett, M.D., author of Fatherneed: Why Father Care Is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child. Remind your guy that most employers simply want the work to get done; they're less concerned with when you do it. You and your husband can brainstorm solutions to his job situation. Ben Bouza, a high school teacher and football coach in Hawarden, Iowa, says his schedule (teaching classes during the day, leading practices in the afternoon, and creating lesson plans at night) used to leave him scant time to spend with his 8-month-old, Norah. So he started doing his administrative work early in the morning, freeing up nights to spend with his little girl. "Sometimes I have to get in at 5 A.M. to catch up, but it's worth it to have a chance to bathe Norah and read books to her," he says.

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