The way dads view their roles also depends on their resources, as hands-on involvement is often directly related to income. Jeff Cookston, a psychology professor at San Francisco State University, co-authored a recent survey asking fathers what they do well as dads. Most men replied that they talk with their child or share a strong emotional connection. What they didn't say was breadwinning – except if they were poor. If income and time are slim, and a father takes any odd job he can to support his family, he'll find meaning in that contribution, Cookston says.
Similarly, the more professional and progressive the workplace, the more likely it is to consider workers' family concerns. At Hamer's office in Toronto, for example, it's been made clear to him that "this is not about face time," he says. "You do what you need to do to make your work and life work in concert."
If someone is out of the office managing family responsibilities from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., they're likely making up that time late at night, says Dorian Denburg, Atlanta-based attorney for AT&T and former president of the National Women Lawyers Association. "It's not like you're not going to get it done. You just have more control over getting it done." Denburg says she has noticed her male colleagues have become more outspoken about their parenting whereas, even five years ago, men would "slip out or sneak out" of work to tend to family obligations.
If women's experience is any indication, men may have considerable challenges to navigate. "If we were to extrapolate from the literature on the 'superwoman' phenomenon, then we should expect that men with these expectations of themselves to be the breadwinner as well as an involved dad and partner [will] experience some gender role overload and stress with their ability to manage all of these aspects of what they think is important to their identity as men," says Christopher Liang, a psychology professor at Lehigh University. "These men will need to find a way to manage time so that they can take care of themselves professionally and personally, while also being a good dad and partner."
[Read: How to Make Love Last.]