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      CommentAuthorrs3gold11
    • CommentTimeDec 20th 2017
     
    Last wow cheap gold week, in the discussion over the super silly Forbes piece, I let loose with one of my favorite points: today's dads "are much more interested in getting family and work time in the right proportions" than previous generations.

    But I was so busy scratching my head over the whole Forbes flap that I didn't get around to reading the study lying on my desk, "The Effect of Fatherhood on Men's Patterns of Employment." It's an interesting piece of work that pretty much contradicts my argument, coming to the conclusion that dads are working every bit as long as men without kids. There's only one problem: One of the two sources of data the researcher relies on is a survey of men born in 1958. And while guys born in '58 pioneered a lot of things disco, stagflation, the personal computer I don't think they're the ones out front in the dad revolution.

    In fact, I worry that even I born into Gen X am behind the times when it comes to progressive fatherhood. I've long assumed my generation was really changing the game when it came to flexibility. But the whippersnappers behind me may be the real revolutionaries. A BabyCenter survey of young fathers found much more egalitarian leanings in the twentysomethings than the Xers (who, in turn, are much more family centric than their boomer fathers).

    It raises the question of whether academia can keep up the UK study is already a few years out of date, and I wonder if fatherhood hasn't shifted even since the beginning of the decade. The number of at home dads by the shaky method used by the Census Bureau is up by more than 50 percent since the early '00s, and I suspect that the availability of cheap broadband, cheap cell phones and the growing plague of Blackberries is making it even easier for dads to blend work and home. The press release declared dads want flexibility, not shorter working hours. That's not at all what the study showed, but it's probably the truth.

    I know the On Balance readership is pretty heterogeneous when it comes to age, so I'm sure there will be plenty of discussion (and, I have no doubt, a defense of the '58ers) on the question: Are new dads doing a better job of pushing balancing than those that started the dad gig a decade or two ago?

    Brian Reid writes about parenting and work family balance.

    By Brian Reid

    August 31, 2006; 7:00 AM ET

    Which generation has more balance? Were working hours less, adult/me time more acceptable, children seen/not heard, church every sunday, youth sports not as obsesssive? Was there a mobilized war? Was dad a veteran? Were economic times tough? City life/country life/farm life? Union worker? Management? New father when in 20's or 30's? Divorce?

    I fail to see the value of debating which generation of fathers had more balance and to stereotype any group.

    Too many issues to make a value judgement. He DOES work long hours sometimes 70 or 80 hours a week (in high tech and an entrepreneur besides) BUT he's absolutely always been there for the kids (who are now in college). For many many years he came home for family dinner at 6, did evening duty while I worked, put the kids (and me) to bed at 9, and then went back to work until midnight. We both got up at 6, had a family breakfast and then he went to work at 7:30. Yep, long hours, but ALWAYS there for family two meals a day!

    And way more than his father or mine ever did. I hate how because of email and cell phones (I'm stubbornly against getting a blackberry) takes my work and blends it into family time.

    I work 10 hours a day, sometimes longer on deadline, sometimes weekends. I'm not a doctor, I write proposals. My husband is a lobbyist with a similar schedule.

    Technology has succeeded in bringing work into family time, but the reverse is not the case. He has a daughter by a previous marriage (now grown) with whom though she lived a 7 hour roundtrip drive away he spent every other weekend until she was 17 and came to live with us for good. He switched jobs several times during her childhood and negotiated every other Friday afternoon off because his child came first. Prospective employers who wouldn't accept that were told that it was a dealbreaker.

    He also took 3 months paternity (mostly unpaid, but we'd planned for that) for the births of each of our other two children. He is truly a partner in parenting our growing children and a wonderful father to our older daughter, now in college. Many of his friends of the same age are not nearly as involved with their families as my husband is with his. I am very, very lucky. My husband writes proposals and I edit, which means we both have crazy schedules and work on weekends sometimes.

    However, I think the trade off is worth it. Even though I spend dinner time working, I can do it at home as opposed to staying late at the office. I can also work from home on the weekends, which means I can take breaks to do laundry and have lunch. I wouldn't have the flexibility if it weren't for broadband and file sharing.

    But I'll never get a blackberry. Cell phones work for me. It doesn't matter when a man was born re: his involvement at home, it matters when he had kids.

    I was born in 1961 (not far from 1958), but we didn't have kids until I was 37. Although I'd like to think that I would have been an involved dad anyway (my dad, born in 1926, certainly was/is), I'm sure my eagerness to be involved in my kids' lives and in the home in general was influenced by how society had come to accept much greater paternal involvement.
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