Wednesday, February 28, 2007

(College) Kids Say the Darndest Things

Over the past month or so, I've seen a mini-boom in at-home dad mentions in college papers. This is a little bit of a sup rise to me, in part because they all seemed to happen all of a sudden, out of nowhere, and in part because I gave exactly zero thought to kids/at-home parenting/childrearing/diapers/529 plans/work-life balance/etc. when I was in college. (And I was ahead of the curve, marrying two years after I left school.)

But apparently, today's college kids are thinking less about where they can acquire a good fake ID and more about the shape of their life a decade hence. The first reference I saw came in a meandering "Opinion" piece in the Stanford Daily on Mr. Right and dating and gender and language (I think)*:
At one point, our teacher went around the room, asking everyone whether they’d be willing to be a stay-at-home dad or mom. Every girl said "no" and every guy said "yes." (Clearly polling a total of eight students — three guys and five girls — is an excellent data-gathering technique.)
Seriously? All three guys said yes to at-home fatherhood? Heck, all three guys had thought about it enough to give a coherent answers? My, times have changed.

Georgetown's monthly magazine took on the topic of the "Mommy Wars," another ripe topic that -- quite frankly -- I don't remember being discussed in my college's publications. While the whole piece is worth reading to see what today's college woman thinks about her future work-life balance prospects, it also mentions at-home dads, giving a pre-med student the opportunity to pitch at-home fatherhood:
Georgetown senior Brodie Parent (COL '07) has a lot to say about this conflict. ... Parent is forthright about his convictions, saying without hesitation that "if I married someone who was really bent on a big career and really wanted to start a family, I would definitely be a stay-at-home dad." Parent is even aware of what he is getting himself into, as his brother and his brother-in-law are both stay-at-home dads.
An addition bonus to the story? This line, which should be standard-issue in every article dumb enough to use the line "mommy wars":
Fox responded that she would "prefer not to have it posed as an opposition, as one or the other." She adds that "there are other options available. That question itself, that opposition, is part of the fuel of 'The Mommy War' construction. I'd say what's interesting about that question is 'where's daddy?'"
Finally, Arizona State's magazine, the State Press Magazine, ran a cover story on "Reversing Roles." It's well worth the read -- throwing in some stats to back up the thesis ("The Sloan Work and Family Research Network reported that in 2002, 20 percent of fathers were the primary caregivers for their preschool-aged children ...") as well as some academic analysis and some nice anecdotes.

* I mean no disrespect to the Stanford Daily. Some of my best friends are former editors-in-chief of that august paper.

Full Disclosure: I was a college newspaper editor, and so I actually have a limited right to poke fun at undergraduate publications. Another fellow college newspaper editor sent along this Onion story and -- I hate to say it -- I saw a bit of myself in there.


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