Balancing work and family responsibilities is a problem for many women and men. Given the extent to which family responsibilities are perceived as the province of women, balancing their work and family responsibilities may be even more difficult for those men who wish to assume their share of domestic responsibilities.
Case studies of two-career families in the USA, with small or school-age children, reveal differing circumstances and personal solutions. However the following comments are curiously uniform: (1) all emphasize that a well-functioning partnership is mandatory; (2) all regret time constraints; (3) all wish for more understanding on the side of employers for the imperative demands of family work; (4) all recognize the need for quality child care.
Policies to tackle reconcile work and family aspirations have to cut across any labour and social issues and reflect the change in the traditional thinking on gender roles. Strategies to enable more effective reconciliation of work and home life are (a) eliminating the concept of the sole breadwinner in the two-adult family as the norm for tax systems and social security policies; (b) encouraging men to take advantage of the established legislation to increase their share of parenting and family care; (c) searching for an innovative solution to modify the traditional division for raising and caring for the family between the state, the private sector and the local community in order to create a family-friendly infrastructure, in particular in the area of child care and care for the elderly; (d) establishing systems that ensure more flexibility for workers in planning their working day and make possible temporary exits from employment without adverse effects on their career; (e) promoting, through the media and other forms of dissemination, a change in socially accepted norms and a more equal division of responsibilities for work and family between men and women.
Work has to change in order for parents to raise healthy children to be healthy contributing employees.