Expedia just started airing a fantastic ad, focusing on a father who was clearly struggling with work-family balance, and who (of course with the help of Expedia- it is an ad, after all) was able to have a moment of joy and clarity (on the Disney teacup ride) to help him realize his work-family priorities.
A few people have asked me whether I, as a dad of a seven-year old, was going to write anything about the tragedy in Connecticut. I replied that I had no expertise or anything unique or helpful to say- I’m just as pissed and sad as everyone else, and who wants to read a story about how I embarrassed Nick by hugging him for too long as he got off the school bus.
So, I’m not writing about Newtown. But I did come across this advertisement for the gun used in the mass murder, and it got me thinking about the signals our society still gives men about who they are expected to be.
The stereotype: “Housework is the only activity at which men are allowed to be consistently inept because they are thought to be so competent at everything else” – Letty Cottin Pogrebin
The reality: “The fellow who owns his own home is always coming out of a hardware store” -Kin Hubbard
For decades, The Bureau of Labor Statistics has conducted the Americans Time Use Survey (ATUS) and the University of Michigan has conducted the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). Through surveys and time use diaries, these studies track employment patterns, as well as how Americans divide their time among their daily work and non-work tasks.
No surprise- these projects have consistently found that men spend more time at work than women, and women spend more time on housework than men. These gaps, which were once huge, have significantly narrowed over the decades, until stabilizing in about the late 1990s.
Take a quick look, and you’ll realize how much military dads and their families sacrifice for us. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBk0xLyEqhU Remember, military dads may be half a world away, but they are not only fathers, they are true heroes- not just to their kids, but to all of us. We should all do more to support our … Read more
“Dad as doofus” humor is the backbone of many TV sitcoms, as has been since the very beginning. Unfortunately, the “batting average” for this easy type of humor is not very high. There are a few home runs (Homer Simpson or Michael Bluth), some clean singles (Ray Romano, Bill Cosby, Tim Allen, et al), and lots of strikeouts (George Lopez or anyone on “Yes Dear”). And I am not the first to speak out against the lazy TV stereotype of the clueless dad.Very few shows have taken a nuanced look into modern fatherhood and the work and fatherhood conundrum most of us face- “Up all Night” and “Parenthood” are two current shows that do this (I’m sure there are more, but, who has time for lots of TV?). Considering all we committed, working dads are dealing with, the time seems right for a smart, incisive comedy commenting on our issues.
I generally agree with the sentiment in this excellent NYT op-ed piece by Susan Lambert of the University of Chicago from last Thursday (Sept 20, 2012). In it she argues that women on the low end of the wage scale are hurt by unpredictable and inconsistent work schedules (e.g., waitress shifts) and women on the high end of the wage scale are hurt by increasingly long time demands.
However, I find it limiting that her piece is written as if these are challenges unique to working women. It seems to me that men face many of the same problems with their work schedules and demands, and that they would also benefit from the proposed reforms Dr. Lambert argues for.
Big Ben stated he would miss a game if it conflicted with the birth of his child. Why this is an important, visible step that can help dads in less glamorous professions.
After all, the Pittsburgh Steelers star quarterback hasn’t always been the nicest of guys, especially to women. And, of course I am still quite pissed about the 2010 AFC Championship Game (My wife’s quote after that crushing loss: “If I treated you as badly as the Jets treat you, you would have left me by now”).(EDIT- I’m not so happy about this week’s game either!!!)