HEARD ABOUT THE DADDY WARS?
Two men walk into a bar.
(I promise there are no horses, Irishmen or priests in this anecdote.)
Illustration via Jezebel.
One turns to the other and says: “I heard Dave’s gone back to work. Can you believe it? His kid’s only three months old!”
“Yep. Shocking. What’s more important: your kid or your job? That’s why I decided to stay at home. A child needs his father.”
Of course, this conversation never happened.
Because men don’t have ‘daddy wars’ in the same way women have ‘mummy wars’.
Part of this is due to critical mass: In Australia, only one percent of fathers stay at home. Traditionally, men have earned more from selling their labour. But with women making up 64 percent of university graduates, the times they are a-changin’.
Let’s hope this new debate doesn’t devolve into mano a mano. In parenting pugilism, there are no winners.
The most recent example is the battle between Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen and the wife of Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Ms Rosen said Ann Romney had no right to advise her husband on economic issues because she’d “never worked a day in her life”.
In response, Ms Romney tweeted, “I made a choice to stay at home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work”.
Mitt Romney’s subsequent comment, “All moms are working moms”, opened up a class war. In January, he said women on welfare needed to get jobs even if they had young children.
It seems the only mothers who are allowed to stay at home are rich ones.
The fallout from all of this is disappointingly predictable. The stay-at-home mums are fighting for their turf; the working mums, theirs. It feeds into the cliché of women always ready to tear each other down. Each side is presenting its own statistics, showing kids are better/worse off at home/in care.
But many families don’t have a choice about whether both parents work. They need to pay the bills.
For those who do have a choice, it’s simple. If going to work makes you feel fulfilled, do it. If you’re more content staying at home, do that. And don’t feel guilty.
Kids are happy if they are loved – regardless of whether their caregivers work outside the home.
Which brings me to dads.
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