The term work-life balance is prevalent in academic literature, policy debates and popular discourse. Despite its ubiquity, the term has received relatively little critical analysis and the ‘balance’ which is strived for remains opaque. Drawing on qualitative empirical work with fathers who are in full-time employment, this paper critiques the implicit assumption that "work" and "life" are necessarily in conflict and compete for scarce resources. The paper argues instead that a complementary model of work-life balance, albeit with moments of friction, better captures fathers’ experiences than the adversarial model which currently dominates. It is suggested that this formulation of work-life balance is both a conceptual improvement and a starting point for developing more useful policy measures.
Keywords: Employment, Fathers, Flexibility, Time, Work-Life Balance