Dads in the news
Congrats to Brian at RebelDad for his new gig as a regular guestblogger in the Post blog On Balance. I’m a bit jealous of his exposure (# of comments I got for my post on labor force participation statistics: 1; # of comments Leslie Morgan Steiner got for her post on the same topic: 187), but also somewhat glad that I’m not the target of some of the nutcases who comment there.
"What makes at-home dads interesting is not that they walk their kids to school or go to the playground or do laundry or whatever. It’s that they are refusing to play by the outdated gender roles. Parents should have a wide range of choices about how they balance work and home, and one of the largest obstacles to this free choice is the idea that there are certain things men simply don’t do (and that women, therefore, must do). At-home dads help shatter this idea, which helps not only SAHDs, but also go-to-work women (who face less of a "second shift" at home), go-to-work dads (who have additional freedom to ask for flexibility) and at-home moms (whose choice is validated by an expanded — and more diverse — peer group)."
I’m not sure that’s quite right. I think that reverse traditional families (my term for families where moms work and dads are at home) very much challenge gender ideologies. But we don’t challenge the "ideal worker" model — the idea that employers are entitled to employees who are largely unencumbered by family responsibilities, who don’t have to run out the door in the middle of the day when the daycare calls because a child is sick, who can stay late without hesitation.
My husband has been staying home for over 5 years now. At this point, I’m tired of stories about stay at home dads that basically treat them as dancing bears. I’m much more impressed by stories about other things — finances, transportation, whatever, that take stay-at-home dads for granted.