When James McCarthy's son, Chase, was born, Mr McCarthy was entitled to just one week of paid parental leave. His wife, Amity, was offered 16 weeks. He wanted to spend more time with his newborn but his employer refused.
''I'd happily be a house husband and be Chase's full-time care giver,'' Mr McCarthy said yesterday.
The Paddington couple both work in finance and are usually out of the house between 7am and 7pm during the week. James's mother cares for Chase while they are at work.
''I try to make it home so that he at least sees me before he goes to bed,'' he said. ''But weekends are sacrosanct.''
A report released last week by Diversity Council Australia said men are increasingly seeking more flexible work arrangements to care for children.
The work-family struggle is one politicians know well. The opposition's climate change spokesman, Greg Hunt, is away from his wife and two children 150 nights of the year.
The hectic schedule has exposed Mr Hunt to the challenge of trying to be a family man while also pursuing his political ambition.
''The answer is to try to make the time with [the children] as good as possible,'' he said. ''I'd like to go for quantity [time] but you just can't.''
Hunt does try to work from home when possible, an option 56 per cent of young fathers want, according to the Diversity Council report.
Graeme Russell, who co-wrote the report, said flexibility not only benefited the employer but could lead to ''Workplaces don't see and value the contribution that their employees make to the next generation and to their families and the broader community and they particularly don't see it when it comes to dads.''
He said if men were not given flexibility, some would take it, anyway.
''In other words, they'll tell a lie and go and do what they need to do because that's something that's very powerful in their lives.''
The report said many were afraid to ask to change their work arrangement for fear of harming their careers. Despite some public discussion about the demands of fathering, Mr McCarthy thought plenty of men were still uncomfortable about asking their employer if they could leave early to care for a sick child.
''It's still frowned upon,'' he said. ''As a man, [people think] 'What's your wife doing? Why isn't she going to pick up the children?'''
Mrs McCarthy said: ''And then we have to sit there on the phone having the argument about who has a more important meeting in the afternoon.''
Mr McCarthy now works for a family business and understands the challenges some companies face when trying to meet employee's needs. ''At the end of the day, it might be all they can afford.''
Dr Russell, who has been researching fatherhood and workplace policy for 35 years, said many people assumed men's only source of identity is their paid work.
Mr and Mrs McCarthy are trying to strike a balance between setting aside enough quality time for their one-year-old and earning enough money to provide for him.
''At the end of the day, if Chase needed something and it involved me having to chuck my career to look after him I'd do it in a heartbeat,'' Mr McCarthy said.