By Hadar Susskind
I was looking for that picture of me checking email on my phone while talking in the direction of my pre-teen son who is plugged in to his Ipad and totally ignoring me, as my daughter bounds singing through the room and my wife tries to hear the conference call that she is on. Somehow, we forget to memorialize that all too common moment, so instead you get to see this beautiful, if slightly old, photo of us on vacation looking tanned and relaxed.
That is of course, because no one records those regular moments of mayhem. And, while we might talk about them with a friend as we complain, it is the tanned and relaxed picture that goes on Facebook, gets emailed to the in-laws, and is the public face of our family lives.
Not that I have any desire to see pictures of crying kids (or parents for that matter) but it is important that, as we seek to balance the personal and the professional in our lives, we can be honest about our successes and failures in that arena.
As a husband and father, one of the challenges that I encounter is the assumption, often but not always from older male executives, that men should be less concerned with a “work-life balance” and less focused on the needs of their families. I once canceled a meeting to stay home with a sick child, and got an email back saying, with no joke intended, “can’t your wife do that, this is important?”. I won’t name the Jewish community professional who sent that email, but I believe he did so because the idea of staying home with a sick child, instead of your wife doing so, was totally foreign to him.