By Cindy Krischer Goodman
After giving her sons breakfast, Karin Bejerano dashes off to work as a high school dance instructor. Her husband, Andres, moves fully into dad mode, adjusting the boys’ shirt buttons, sticking lunches into backpacks, driving them to school and delivering their sports bags to their grandparents’ home for use later in the day.
The tag team system works for the Bejeranos as they ready for another school year and divide responsibilities that include supervising homework and shuttling Bryson, 13, and Trystan, 8, to extracurricular activities such as football and music lessons.
Today, more than 60 percent of two-parent households with children under age 18 have two working parents, according to Pew Research Center’s 2013 Modern Parenthood Study. The new division of labor has dads just as stressed about juggling work and family life as moms.
Fathers like Andres are exerting the flexibility in their work schedules and carefully orchestrating business travel to participate in the balancing act that helps to keep their children on a productive path.
Experts say when couples work together to face the new school year, it not only benefits mothers who work but also has a positive effect on children academically and behaviorally. According to Detective Wayne Halick, a director of the Chicago-based Fatherhood Educational Institute, “Paternal involvement is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, deterrent to youth violence.”
Today, fathers monitor grades, volunteer in classrooms and participate in the organized chaos of involved parenting. In the Bejerano household, Andres, co-founder of Traxxis GPS, checks online to see what homework his sons have, what class projects are due and what grades they get as part of his weekly routine. Karin reviews the homework each night and ensures it goes into folders and into her sons’ backpacks. On Sunday night, the Bejeranos plan the dinner menu for the week, organize the ingredients and review the week’s schedule that, for now, includes football practice four nights a week for Trystan. (Andres is the team coach.)