Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Everything You Could Possible Want to Know About SAHDs

The Economist's lifestyle magazine, Intelligent Life, last month ran what has to be one of the longest stories on at-home fatherhood ever penned. I'd love to say that the piece dug up some profound realities, but it's mostly the same ol' stuff (even if they did quote Peter Baylies).

They did manage to bury some interesting nuggets, most of them from Yale's Kyle Pruett, my second-favorite academic in the world. To whit:
Far more interesting, Pruett feels, and possibly a factor that could limit the number of couples who make the switch, is the other, female side of the story. He observes from his research that there is a limit to how far women are happy with the arrangement, even if it makes sense. As the years go by, Pruett has observed that the women in his study who are the sole breadwinners face a struggle not to feel they are sacrificing too much of their femaleness. "The babies are fine," he says, "the men are OK, but I believe it is a much more complicated journey for the mothers."
The question of how at-home fatherhood works for women
is an interesting point, and one that is almost never discussed (just as fathers are left out of most work-life discussions that center on women). I'd love to see that explored in a little more depth.

(Also worthwhile: the story's description of the American SAHD community:
Alongside this domestic ego-support, fathers now have the online networks, support groups and what in America has become something like a political movement, with annual conventions and angry bloggers monitoring stereotypical representations in the media.
"Angry bloggers?" Am I really that angry?)

Thanks to DaddyTypes for spotting this.


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