The Wall Street Journal asked: Are Dads the New Moms?
Yes I am. Deb and I had a massive reversal of roles a few months ago (and from the lag between blog posts, you can see that we’re still trying to find a way to hold it all together.) The article states that “the age of dads as full partners in parenting has arrived” and that “men are now experiencing what women found when they first entered the workforce – the pressure to do it all and have it all.” It’s worth a read.
Just as Deb struggled to balance caring for the kids and house with freelance work, while I worked full time out of the home, now I’m the one who’s at home, balancing networking, interviews, looking for work, and exploring various consulting opportunities with the day-to-day rhythms of our home life – rhythms that I never really understood before. It has been enlightening, to say the least, and I’ve only been able to fully understand it by doing the majority of the workload.
But there are some key differences. I am cooking, cleaning (“cleaning” being loosely defined by Deb), carpooling, laundering, making doctor appointments, helping with homework, registering for camps, etc. But I’m still not doing my fair share. Because when Deb was working from home, she did all of that and more while freelancing steadily. I took out the garbage and cleaned the litter box. Now Deb is working full time in the city and our home/kids workload is probably shared 50/50. That’s not to say that I, being home, should have to do it all. Rather, I should have taken on more when I was working outside the home.
The other key difference is that Deb is home by 6 or 6:30, something I rarely was able to do – or perhaps, something I didn’t quite understand was so critical. Now I get it. And I forgive her for all those calls at 5:45 asking, “When are you coming home?”
The article states that “fathers are no longer seen as just providers or occasional babysitters, but as actively engaged in their children’s emotional and daily lives, down to their routine care.” I can tell you that I’m no longer marking my calendar with “babysitting” when Deb has to go somewhere in the evening or on the weekend.
According to Scott Coltrane, professor of sociology and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oregon, he “speculates that American culture may be on its way to phasing out the gendered roles of ‘husband and wife’ and ‘father and mother’ and replacing them with the functional roles of ‘spouse and parent.’”
I guess that’s progress. Though I was just beginning to feel comfortable with the “stay-at-home dad” label.
Blessing – my mother-in-law is on the road to recovery after back surgery and planning a visit at the end of the summer