Wednesday, October 17, 2007

HuffPo on Guys at Home

A number of you have forwarded on last week's Huffington Post post by Peggy Drexler, which had the somewhat misleading title of "In Appreciation of the FTF (Full Time-Father)." While Drexler gives props to the At-Home Dad Convention and notes that SAHDs are "all good," she then goes on to whittle away at the ideas that this is really a meaningful social shift:
  • Drexler calls the number of FTFs "not huge," which is all in the way you look at things. Two million plus primary caretakers, plus a couple million more single dads ain't chump numbers.
  • Drexler picks up on the bogus involved-fathers-lose-masculinity points arguments that Time invented, noting that "... manliness seems to come up a lot on the new at-home dad web sites that are popping up." Google says I have never, ever used the term "manliness" on this blog, and I don't see it much on the, oh, 60 or so dadblogs I monitor sporadically. Manliness is not really an issue with anyone but journalists.
  • She says there is "emerging evidence" that mom runs the house even when dad is not there. I've never seen that evidence. There is plenty of evidence that in dual-earner household, mom takes the brunt of the household responsibilities -- a reality that I find deplorable -- but that's not exactly "emerging": The Second Shift is now 10 years old.
  • Finally, drawing on her own experience, she says that at-home fatherhood is not a "slam-dunk" because "things might not be running with mom-like precision:"
    [Fathers] are more likely to apply the five second rule (anything dropped that is not on the floor for more than five seconds is ok to eat), mismatch an occasional school outfit and are secure in the belief that dishes left in a sink for the afternoon do not cause Ebola.
There are a lot of reasons why involved fatherhood, as fast as it is growing, is not growing even faster. And I'll acknowledge that the dads of the world shoulder the bulk of the responsibility for this. But c'mon: the faithful application of the five-second rule is no reason to cast aspersions on at-home dadhood.

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