Raising Kids and Running a Household: How Working Parents Share the Load

Pew Study parents work life balance bar graphA new survey report from Pew Research Centers:

While mothers and fathers offer somewhat different views of the division of labor in their household, there is general agreement about who in their family is more job- or career-focused. For example, in two-parent households where the mother and father work full time, 62% say both are equally focused on work, while about one-in-five (22%) say the father is more focused and 15% say the mother is. Differences in the responses to this question between mothers and fathers in this type of household are modest.

The full news report is here.

Happier thoughts: Changing Perception of Fatherhood in Pop Culture, aka #DadsInAds

Recently the oafish dad characterization has changed. After the complaints to a Lowes paint commercial in 2014, advertising agencies changed how they potrayed dads, and the public encouraged it. This is an ongoing collection of positive dad commercials.

#RealStrength Dove Men+Care January 2015

“Dave” Vicks Nyquil January 2015

#HowToDad Cheerios December 2014

“To Be A Dad” Toyota January 2015

“Life Lesson’s” Uncle Ben’s August 2014

“The Value of Room to Run” True Value Hardware

#SwifferEffect Swiffer January 2015

“Dad & Andy” Whirlpool May 2015

Disposable Dads and the Myth of the Modern Family

From Karen Woodall in Huffington Post UK’s Building Modern Men series:

I work in the field of family separation and I meet disposable dads every day. These men, who appear at times to me to be nothing more than the ghostly imprint of what a father is, are suffering. Not that you would know it, so unpopular is their plight. Gaslighted by the system which surrounds the family as it separates, these dads, who were pregnant with their partners (in that most modern approach to sharing all of the experience of bringing forth life), now find themselves routinely cast out of the family after separation. Dads are not welcome in post-separation family life, especially if they are going to cause trouble by wanting to actually parent their children. For those modern men who gave their all to fatherhood, the injustice of such a swift eviction from the lives of their children after separation, is a bewildering attack on their very sense of self….

Dads after separation were once described by the CEO of Gingerbread (the single parenting charity) as ‘secondary resources, most effective when strategically employed.’ Translated this means, dads are useful to mums after separation because they can babysit and be included on the rota for the school run. Dads as helpers, are acceptable so long as they are doing as they are told. Dads as hands on active parents, sharing the care, the chores, the long nights of tummy aches and sickness are not routinely acceptable. In fact as a practitioner working with dads who have been evicted from their children’s lives after separation, I have witnessed dads being told that their desire to care for their children is ‘aggressive and upsetting’ to their children’s mother.

The whole article is here.

Family Structure and the Gender Gap

Following on an earlier post, the concerns about fatherless America 20 years ago, here is more recent data summarized by W. Bradford Wilcox in National Review:

On October 14, Princeton University and Brookings released a new issue of The Future of Children, focused on marriage and child well-being. After reviewing family research over the last decade, the issue’s big takeaway, co-authored by Princeton sociologist Sara McLanahan and Brookings economist Isabel Sawhill, was this: Whereas most scholars now agree that children raised by two biological parents in a stable marriage do better than children in other family forms across a wide range of outcomes, there is less consensus about why. Is it the quality of parenting? Is it the availability of additional resources (time and money)? Or is it just that married parents have different attributes than those who aren’t married? Thus a major theme we address in this issue is why marriage matters for child wellbeing. Although definitive answers to these questions continue to elude the research community, we’ve seen a growing appreciation of how these factors interact, and all of them appear to be involved. In other words, although scholars are not exactly sure why marriage matters for children, they know that marriage does matter for them….
Yesterday, the news was even worse for the family-structure denialists, after the New York Times highlighted a major new study from MIT economist David Autor and his colleagues showing that less-advantaged boys are floundering in school and society — and more so than their less-advantaged female peers — in part because, compared with more-advantaged boys, they are less likely to grow up in a married home with their father. In particular, compared with their sisters, less-advantaged boys “have a higher incidence of truancy and behavioral problems throughout elementary and middle school, exhibit higher rates of behavioral and cognitive disability, perform worse on standardized tests, are less likely to graduate high school, and are more likely to commit serious crimes as juveniles.”

The whole article is here.

Highly Educated = Husband Material?

Karol Markowicz in the New York Post, “This guy went to college, but it doesn’t make him husband material.” (The picture of “this guy” at the link is John Belushi from Animal House.)

With more women going to college than ever before, there are only so many baccalaureate bachelors for them to meet and marry.

That seems reasonable at first glance. Hey, if a woman is looking for someone with her level of education, and this is a deal-breaker for her, then sure, there’s a serious shortage of suitable men.

Birger points out that a woman who was 34 in 2007 began college in 1991 when women outnumbered men on college campuses by 10 percent. He notes that “in 2012, 34 percent more women than men graduated 4-year colleges.”

The numbers are indeed daunting. But they obscure a question all of these unmarried college-graduate women should be asking themselves: Why does a degree matter so much, anyway?