Hi! My name is Chris Haworth. I am self – employed and am the founder of Peak Performance massage. I have clinic’s both in Oxford and in our local Village, Milton under Wychwood.
Why did you choose your line of work?
Originally I was in Marquees. But then when we had children the hours in the Summer months were just not conducive to family life. I’d be up at 4am and out of the door by 4.30, often not getting home until 12 or 1am. It was very seasonal and the Winter months gave me more time at home but I wanted something that was more flexible all year round.
What does work/life balance mean to you?
Work/Life balance means being able to see the kids after school, work half days during school holidays and not constantly missing out.
How did you find returning to work after paternity leave?
I didn’t have Paternity leave as I was self-employed.
Should there be more male role models in the workplace who promote shared parental leave & flexible working?
Why is it important for you to be able to work flexible hours?
It enables me to help out taking the kids to various clubs. To be around after school (their mum works full time so we share who is home over the week). Just to be present and know what is going on in my daughters lives. My daughters (who are now 11 and 13) are are growing up extraordinarily quickly. Without flexibility I would miss out on the day to day conversations that are snapshots into the crazy lives of teenage girls!!!!
What would be your advice to other dads who would like to work more flexibly?
It IS possible to work flexibly and NOT take a financial hit. The benefits completely outweigh any concerns I had at the beginning when I made the decision to make time for my family. I am lucky in many ways as I call the shots being self-employed but for those in a similar situation, it is all too tempting never to turn work down. The stereotypical pressure for men is to be the provider but I feel it is really important to demonstrate to our children that having a presence in the home by both parents is an attainable and workable solution. To set their expectations as this being the norm.
Do you feel that there is a negative stigma attached to dads who stay at home or leave work early to do the school run etc?
There can be to a degree - From my experience, all the Men that do it don't really care as it enables them to have time with their children. I can't recall ever experiencing negative responses when I've told people I am at home with the girls for part of the week. I think men in particular are often quite envious. Many put up a front but the reality of it is that so many of them would love to be able to do the school run, take them to the park, overhear conversations with friends etc.
Pick three words that describe the juggle between work and family life.
Absolute nightmare!!! - Seriously though - Challenging, rewarding, worthwhile.