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.
I know what you’re thinking. Many dads still have not earned the “involved” adjective. Perhaps they’re emotionally distant, focused on the traditional breadwinner role. Or worse, far too many are absent entirely, leaving their children without a father and the mothers to fend for themselves as sole parent and provider. (Of course, women who’ve chosen to raise their children without a male partner or spouse are a different story!)
So what’s the problem with the phrase “involved dad?”
For one thing, it lets the uninvolved off the hook, as if those of us who are present in our kids’ lives are the exceptions, or exceptional, doing something different, unusual, special. No, we’re not; we’re just dads. Let the rest of them be labeled “uninvolved dads,” with the assumption being that a father by definition is one who does more than inseminate a woman.
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.
There is a subtle, but potentially seismic shift happening in the workplace. From sweeping diversity initiatives and radical strategies that tackle the gender wage gap to extended paid parental leave policies, the next decade could reveal a very different picture of American workers. But change often comes with backlash….
New research published in the Journal of Business and Psychology reveals that as fathers take on more caregiving and other family responsibilities, workplace norms still see them as “organization men” married to their jobs, which potentially inhibits their development as true, involved fathers. The study also found that there isn’t much in the way of formal support for working dads.