Would We Say That to Dads?

Full post appears here on RoleReboot.org.

Working Dads Risk Damaging Their Child’s Prospects

Working Dads Are Healthier, Study Finds

Working Dads: Don’t Feel Guilty

The 10 Commandments For Working Fatherhood

5 Comments To Avoid Saying To A Working Dad

The Myth Of The Rich, Selfish Working Dad

Have you seen these headlines? No? That’s because they don’t exist. Links to the real headlines appear at the end of this piece. They, and the millions like them, are actually about working moms. Working moms are without a doubt the most picked apart, analyzed, written about, advised, talked down to, talked up to, monitored, and micro-managed group in society. And when working moms speak about being working moms, we listen, and then we attack.

This article is not meant to weigh in on any of these debates. Rather, this article asks the critical question: Would we say that to dads?

If the topic du jour sounds absurd when the word “Dad” is substituted for “Mom,” we need to take a step back and ask ourselves if our energy is being well utilized. Instead of answering and re-answering the age-old questions about working moms—Are they harming their kids? Are they helping them? Are they too selfish, too rich, and spoiled, too frazzled, pulled in too many directions?—let’s ask a different question. A critical question.

Why aren’t we talking about dads?

Click here to read the rest!!

Then check out these additional ridiculous headlines, gathered and re-gendered by reader Mark.  Thanks Mark!

Runner Dads: A running dad’s guide to jogging with the stroller

The New Unmarried Dads
More Dads Say Full-Time Work Is Ideal
Working dads, don’t try to be perfect at home
Tired Dads Are More Dangerous Behind the Wheel Than Drunk Dads
More Work and No Play Puts Today’s Dads in a Tough Bind


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Friday’s Discussion of Why Have Kids by Jessica Valenti

Thanks to all who have followed the discussion this week.

Valenti makes an interesting defense mechanism argument, that part of the reason we moms buy into over-parenting and obsessing about minutiae is to shield ourselves from 1)the frightening reality that we don’t have control over whether our kids will be okay, and 2)we aren’t getting the support from society and sometimes from men that we should.
Valenti writes:

“We focus on the absurd, rather than the everyday, because the mundane is too real-too out of control – to face.”

“And the terrifying reality is that from the moment our children are born thers’a wlays a chance they could be taken away from us.  I don’t know about you, but worrying about BPA-free pacifies seems a hell of a lot more sanity saving.”
Final Discussion Question:  Do you buy the defense mechanism argument as a way for women to deny either the frightening reality of lack of control or to deny the lack of support and not face the unfair cultural expectations on us.
I actually have a difficult time answering this one.  I’m not big on denial, it’s not my nature.  I spend plenty of time worrying about actual big things that could happen to my kids and I feel like that actually makes it hard for me to obsess over things like which sippy cup is best and whether a certain pre-school will get my kids into Harvard.  Also, as my readers know all too well, I’m not particularly in denial about the martyr mommy culture I rant about on frequent occasion.  I guess it’s hard for me to say if other moms are helicopter parenting as a defense mechanism, but it certainly makes sense as an argument.
I do think it’s also important to look not just as the woman’s perspective, but who is perpetuating this type of obsessing.  There are massive industry’s profiting of women (and some men) obsessing about children’s well-being, what they should eat, what toys and products will best stimulate them, what educational tools they need, classes to enrich them, consultants and self-help gurus to help with everything and anything, the right clothes, car seats, formula, etc.  I think it’s important rather too look at how the bombardment of cultural messages that we SHOULD be obsessing interplays with our own psychology.
Additionally, if we are obsessing over our kids in order to not face how isolated we are and unsupported, that is also being perpetuated by culture.  Everyone in society who is not supporting us, not paying into state-sponsored childcare and paternal leave, not stepping us, not doing their share of parenting their own kids, not making workplaces more parent friendly, etc. is benefiting from moms being too focused on being perfect to stand up and demand better.  This problem isn’t located in our psyches, but in society.
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