For a long time, working parents felt like they needed to create a division of sorts between their work lives and their family lives. We were discouraged from allowing the messiness of parenting to creep up while we were on the clock. We've been told not to bring work home in the name of being present for our children. We have, essentially, been asked to work like we don't have children and parent like we don't have careers.
Make no mistake: This has never served us well. And then came the pandemic, effectively obliterating that invisible line. And we'll say it: If anything good comes of all we're living through, we hope its a whole new set of expectations surrounding the division of work and parenthood.
It looks like we're off to a good start. From letting our children rest on our laps while we take Zoom calls to watching Bumble's CEO make history with her baby on her hip, we're seeing evidence that our children and our careers can exist in the same space. Most recently, a father held his daughter while he was sworn as the U.S. Department of Labor Chief of Staff—and it speaks volumes to the idea that work life and parenthood can intersect.
Dan Koh on LinkedIn: Honored to be sworn in (with Theodora's help!) as U.S. Department www.linkedin.com
The Department of Labor's newly minted Chief of Staff, Dan Koh, posted a photo of himself and his daughter, Theodora, during the swearing-in on LinkedIn, where it has earned over 7,000 reactions in just a few days.
"Honored to be sworn in (with Theodora's help!) as U.S. Department of Labor Chief of Staff. Excited and humbled to serve Secretary-Designate Walsh and the Biden-Harris administration on behalf of the American people," Koh wrote alongside the sweet photo.
The significance of this cannot be understated. It's a pretty clear sign that when it comes to meshing our family lives with our work lives, progress is being made. Including our children in our major career moments should be the new normal. And while there's plenty of talk surrounding working motherhood and how difficult it is for moms to find that balance with personal and professional lives, we also believe it is vitally important for dads to show the world what it looks like when we break down those barriers between raising children and raising the bar.
For too long, mothers have been questioned about how they'll "juggle" or "balance" their careers alongside their parenting responsibilities—but let's include dads in the conversation as well. Because when dads show the world that they can be parents and professionals simultaneously, it sends a crucial message.