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Why No One Asks Men How They Balance Fatherhood and Work

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work life balance for men

When you think about it, this might not be the worst question in the world after all! How do you do it? Can you really balance family life and your career? People are generally curious about soothing their pain of underachievement and commiserating with their co- superhuman parents who manage to do it all. It’s like once we have examples in flesh, it becomes easier to keep hoping that well-adjustment and balance are possible.

So why is this question mostly interpreted as a roll-your-eyes-pain-in-the-ass one?  The problem is that not both gendered parents are being asked. And not all people who are asking this question seem to have good intentions hidden behind it. There is some sort of doubt and shade in that question that is devastating career women. It’s thrown out there as a rhetorical statement, like ‘I know you can’t, but I am still asking you just for the sake of it all.’  If women are out there delivering a public speech on their achievements, along with their male co-worker who shares all the same marital attributes, is also a father of 3 kids, she will be the only one asked from journalists on how she finds the time to provide decent child care and be work efficient.

This story is going on for ages, as apparently there is a need to signify and highlight the status of working mothers. You don’t ever encounter the term working-father somewhere in the headlines, for instance. Rarely do you find pages that have part-time jobs for dads as their top-search category, as that is simply not a sacrifice necessarily expected from fathers, although it is one they often do. Fathers are becoming more and more present in their children’s lives because they feel like their need for a present father figure is just as necessary as the need for a mother figure.

So why is society only talking and victimizing women who work?

Is it because mothers who work tend to talk more about their struggles out of frustration on the stigmatization they suffer from society?  Or simply because of general (miss) perceptions? Folks out there share a general impression that the burden of child-care should fall only upon women’s shoulders. I know there are men with whom I work with, that manage to follow up with their children’s soccer games while working short hours and compensating with work from home after dinner.

They strive to reach out to any sort of event that matters to their child because they know now that shaping up kiddos with sane healthy mindsets is basically their responsibility too. Quite frankly, they probably want to talk about their concern of missing out on family time too, but it’s difficult because the media almost always frames this preoccupation as a women’s issue.

The guy can be waking up at 5, catching up with work on early hours at dawn only to be able to prepare breakfast for his children. He will help them get ready because his wife leaves for work earlier than him, he will run through a marathon of bizarre questions, take them to school and still, he will not talk about it because nobody will figure he does all these things.

Whereas there are other men who choose to remain silent regarding this kind of fatherhood because they assume that the only notion of masculinity that exists is one that doesn’t involve hanging out with 4-year-olds in the middle of the day. They don’t talk about the sacrifices they make towards equalizing house chores or feeding their children’s need for both attention and affection. That’s because no one asks them to in the first place and because they fear being looked down upon.

Browsing through the history of genders

This tradition of silence when it comes down to equal parenthood goes way back. It all starts with how girls were educated from their young age, deriving from what they were preached about.  The only version of a ‘ little Mrs.have it all’  of an ideal woman that they know of is a mum who is super successful at her career and provides quality time for her four children back home. Heaven knows how they do it, but hey, that’s what they were taught to think of their future.

work life balance for men

They were told they can have it all, but they were never told how to have it all? People simply dismissed the part where your body literally aches from trying to be physically and psychologically present at work and making sure that the chaos back home doesn’t escalate. Nope, the only thing women were taught to visualize is their smiley image, a nice businessy outfit that signifies they’re also ambitious to some extent and some toddlers around her feet.

However, no one ever raised men with constant pep-talk that they can have it all as well.  At least they were not told that this ‘all’ package involves child-care as well. This was never seen as something that an Alpha male would spend a good amount of time doing. God forbid, no!  Men were taught to seek for success, to follow their ambition, to provide and be professional because while they’re at it, a woman will be having it all back at home.

So why no one ever uses working dad, as a term? That’s because this sort of added attribution sounds very unnecessary as people think that fathers in the office is a duhhh situation. I mean it’s obvious, that’s what they do! Whereas working mothers sounds like a badge of honor we should give to women, because society expects them to be at home, and if they’re not at home then we must somehow point out where they are, whether working or what because if not the public will remain dazzled and confused. What other things is a mum supposed to do except for taking care of her little ones, no? Well hell, no!

The thing is, everything should be talked about!

Sharing should be talked about. Caring should be talked about, and the way fathers shape their time according to work and family, should definitely be talked about. The importance of this kind of talk is very, very underestimated. This image of perfection and balance should be dropped once and for all and both gendered parents should empower one another on improving while struggling with an equilibrium. I am saying improve because one can never reach a top-notch parenthood example. We learn through generations, setting aside mistakes that our parents made on us, filtering only the warmth and affection we’ve been provided with.

It’s a utopian thing to say that social immersion and gender comprehension will happen in a breeze, as it will not. However, the masses have to understand that gender stereotypes are diminishing and expectations are finally re-shaping.

When  Lisa Jackson, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, was delivering her acceptance speech for the James Madison Medal in front of Princeton students, during the Q&A session, an audience member asked her how she managed her career and her family. Because of course, they would! I mean are you even successful if you haven’t been asked at least once to answer this question?

Anyways, she laughed and pointed to her husband in the front row, saying: “There’s my work-life balance.” I could never have had the career I have had without my husband, Andrew Moravcsik, who is a tenured professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton. Andy has spent more time with our sons than I have, not only on homework, but also on baseball, music lessons, photography, card games, and more. When each of them had to bring in a foreign dish for his fourth-grade class dinner, Andy made his grandmother’s Hungarian palacsinta; when our older son needed to memorize his lines for a lead role in a school play, he turned to Andy for help.

Which should not be a surprise to anyone! Child-Care should not be looked upon as compromise, or as help that men offer to their wives for some time. It’s called parenthood-ing in the right way. Simple as that! And we praise our feminist men who stand by our side while we smash these gender roles that have been curved through years and years of miss-conception, providing the upcoming generations with living proof that we can indeed have it all, but we must work together on creating circumstances that allow us to.

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What Makes Startup Studios Successful? By Startup Studio Insider

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What Makes Startup Studios Successful? By Startup Studio Insider

So you’ve heard the buzzword “startup studio,” but what exactly does it mean to be a startup studio? Here are the answers you need about why startup studios are becoming a popular model for entrepreneurial success and how this trend is changing corporate innovation.

What is a Startup Studio? 

Startup Studio Insider defines a startup studio as an organization that provides investment, resources, and guidance to startups in order to build and launch successful startups in various industries. Some people call it a venture studio, others call it a startup factory or startup studio. No matter what you call it, this startup model is quickly gaining traction in helping launch startups everywhere. 

Startup studios allow founders to focus all their time and energy on developing every aspect behind their business idea, while studios are dedicated to minimizing any challenges that come along the way. By offering a wide range of resources, industry knowledge, and the funding required to build, launch, and support a startup (even after post-launch), startup studios are becoming a game-changing solution for rising startups.

From Atomic to Wilbur Labs and eFounders, numerous startups are being built around the world and gaining major traction along the way. Deciding the best path to found and build a company can be a daunting task. To help you understand the unique offerings of startup studios, here are some of the most important benefits startup studios offer:

What Makes Startup Studios Successful? By Startup Studio Insider

How Startup Studios Protect Startups – Graphic by Startup Studio Insider

  • Strategic Counsel

Startup entrepreneurs oftentimes lack the necessary experience to anticipate the roadblocks that come along with building a business. In addition, the expertise level of a founder doesn’t always cover all grounds including marketing knowledge, product development, testing, and research. That is not a problem for startup studios, as they provide a wide spectrum of tools and resources to build a perfect strategic plan. In addition, studios have access to a wealth of knowledge in technology tools and trends, business operations, human resources, and more, which become part of their core team to help startups succeed. 

  • Core and Shared Resources

Out of all the investment platforms, studios take the most hands-on approach and provide the most resources. With this, startup studios are able to provide access to the largest amount of top-notch resources to help enhance the vision and goals of the startup and cut down the launch time that could usually take a couple of years to about three months. 

  • Human Capital 

Usually, the vast majority of startup companies are made up of small teams. This is why getting the perfect fit to support the launch and operations needs of your business is crucial. Startup studios help tackle this problem by recruiting the right team with diverse backgrounds and broad skills to handle the immense workload that comes with the challenge of launching a startup. 

  • Funding 

Building a startup from the ground off can be exhausting and cash-consuming. What frequently goes wrong is that startup management fails to achieve the next milestone before cash is exhausted. Startup studios are able to solve this problem by refining the needs and expenses required to prepare for the launch and avoid the risk of becoming insolvent by providing funds even after post-launch. This is one of the major differentiating factors of startup studios compared to their competitor founding models out there. 

  • In-Depth Market Research

According to Startup Studio Insider, startup studios are highly selective, and as a result, will not launch a startup without substantial research and data to prove that there is a market and potential for success. This in-depth market research ultimately leads to better decisions when preparing for the launch and can help mitigate any risks in the long run.  

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An Interview with Nathaniel Mell, Founder and CEO of Felt+Fat

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Nathaniel Mell

Nathaniel Mell is the founder and CEO of Felt+Fat, a ceramic design, and manufacturing studio serving both professional and at-home chefs. Nate Mell started the Philadelphia-based company in 2014 after graduating from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University and working at the world-renown Philadelphia Clay Studio.

Before his foray into ceramic design, Nate gained experience that included working in a variety of media, including glass, metal, wood, and mold-making. The opportunity to design a beautiful line of plates for Eli Kulp’s award-winning restaurant ‘High Street on Market’ oriented Mell towards exploring ceramic design in-depth. In doing so, he came up with the concept for a ceramic design studio catering to the Hospitality industry. The company name, Felt+Fat, came as a nod to the material explorations and theories of midcentury artist Joseph Beuys, one of Mell’s favorite artists.

Today, Nate Mell’s Felt and Fat has a track record of working with over 100 restaurants worldwide, producing more than 30,000 pieces annually, and being featured in the NY Times, the Forbes 30 under 30 list, and many other publications. Timeless design, ethical manufacturing, and intentionality toward relationships are the core values of the ever-growing team at Felt+Fat.

We recently got a chance to interview Nate.

Nate, Thank you for talking with us. What are the projects that you most enjoy working on?

I most enjoy working on custom projects, specifically for restaurants. Great chefs are artists and our mutual respect for craft and the collaborative energy involved in making a new shape or finish is really exciting. When my part is done I then get to see how they interact with the design, plating their food and presenting it in the context of the restaurant elevates it all to another level.

What was your biggest ‘a-ha’ moment?

This was early on. When I started this business I had been working in restaurants for nearly 8 years, supporting myself as an artist, and a chef asked if I could make him plates for a new restaurant. I said yes and initially took it on as a little gig to make a few dollars. Somewhere during the course of that project, I realized that the top restaurant in the world at the time (Noma) was using custom, hand-made tableware and that meant every aspiring chef in the world would be wanting to do the same now, we were on the crest of what could be a seachange in hospitality tableware. It was an exciting realization and what really prompted me to take this much more seriously.

What has been the most important part of your professional journey?

Understanding the importance of planning. I have never been much of a planner, very good at thinking on my feet and getting done what’s right in front of me, but over the years I’ve learned that sustainable growth happens when you pair that ability with solid, diligent planning and execution.

What are some of the risks that your company is currently facing?

We are currently looking at a lot of avenues for growth. Manufacturing means you are always walking that line of demand vs. supply. If you’re over-supplied that means you’re wasting money, if you’re undersupplied you disappoint customers. We have been growing quite a bit but are looking at rolling the dice on some big purchases that will help us up the supply side significantly, but the risk that the demand doesn’t pan out to justify the expense is always a scary thing.

What would you do with unlimited resources?

Create a top-of-the-line production facility with a best-in-class R&D studio bringing in young, world-class talent to create inventive and exciting new products.

When was the last time you totally lost yourself in doing something?

I routinely lose track of time while working on new designs, it’s easily one of the best parts of the job.

What do you do when you’re not at work?

My off time is spent with my wife and dog primarily. We go for hikes, cook great meals, mix cocktails and read aloud together or spend afternoons working on remodeling our small home (currently painting a new ceiling we put up last month).

You and your team at Felt+Fat are already making a positive impact with the “BadThings Happen in Philadelphia” product line. What more do you feel you can do to make a difference in your local community?

The BadThings line of products was a really fun experiment that allowed us to send money to causes we thought were worthwhile, we’ve often found things like that to do over the years but what I am most excited about moving forward is to be working with Baker Industries here in Philly. Baker finds work for hard-to-employ individuals; primarily the recently incarcerated. We’ve just recently hired our second employee through this program and are so happy to be providing jobs for individuals in our community who would have a hard time finding work otherwise. Not only do we get to help the community, but they have also been some of our best staff! It’s a win-win.

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Inspiration and Wellness At Your Fingertips

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There’s a great saying. ‘Push yourself, because no one else is going to do it for you.’ For many people pushing themselves ahead comes naturally and they deal with the challenges of this life with equanimity. However, for many, it takes a little bit of fine tuning before they are able to take various challenges head on. Wellness and Inspiration coaches play a great role in these cases and can help you achieve that level of composure through their expertise.

However, getting such kind of expertise is not possible for many mainly because of accessibility and affordability. Solving this problem is Katherine Appello, Manhattan-based Inspiration and Wellness Coach. Born in New Jersey, Katherine has been helping individuals realize their true potential through meditation and other tools including pre-recorded seminars.

In an Interview with Times of Startups, Katherine said that some of the challenges in her personal life made her more resilient in her efforts. She believes in seeing the glass half full and that we need to take ownership of the choices we make so that we can make different choices going forward. 

The ongoing pandemic has made things tougher for businesses and individuals worldwide. Due to the restriction in movement, it has become even more important to focus on mental wellness. People get inspired by motivational speakers to follow their dreams and achieve their goals. Among other things, motivational speakers also help people to succeed in business, improve their relationships, develop a positive attitude, become healthy, achieve financial prosperity, and have more fun in life.

Realizing that in this day of technology, everything possible should be at your fingertips, she provides wellness coaching through video conferencing too. Although, she regularly engages herself in public speaking and Interviews in Manhattan.

The harder you work for something, the greater you’ll feel when you achieve it. And in that process, it is always better if you can take help from professionals.

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