Fathers 29 years old and under have ignored traditional gender roles and stereotypes about the 1950s Leave it to Beaver lifestyle more than any other generation, according to a 2008 study from the Families and Work Institute. Dads in this age group are spending 4.2 hours per workday with their kids, closing the gap on mothers who average 5.1 hours. And 79 percent of households in that age group are dual income families, with women bringing in 44 percent of the family’s total income.
All of this begs the question: Is this recession actually good in that it may have positive effects on dads being more active with their kids?
I think it’s still too early to tell if there will be a true cultural shift among fathers resulting from this economic fallout. But with so many men losing their jobs, there’s no doubt the amount of fathers bringing their kids to daycare and standing in line at the grocery store is on the rise. And sure, many of them may not want to be there and they’ll go back to working 60 hours a week as soon as they can find a job. But others may not feel that way.
Maybe a few laid off dads will realize what’s important, what they’ve been missing. And maybe some stay at home moms, who are forced into the workplace out of necessity, will realize a part-time job is beneficial not only financially, but to their self-esteem and their sanity too. The potential result could be the balancing off of gender roles and an improved work/life balance for everyone.
And if this does indeed happen, wouldn’t it force more companies to at least take a hard lookat things like paternity leave, more flexible hours and re-evaluate the time off employees get in order to spend with families?
I don’t know. Maybe I’m grasping at straws as I watch all our savings dry up and MJ’s job search falter. I feel like such a schmuck. Overtime isn’t an option for me. I am trying to find more freelance gigs on the side for extra income, but so far it’s just been the Parents magazine thing (still don’t know when it’s coming out). So do I get another job? What the hell kind of job would I get? If I do that it pretty much guarantees I don’t see Will, like, ever. And I can’t bear the thought of that. But I also can’t bear the thought of foreclosure and not paying our bills.
Maybe I’m just desperately trying to see some good in this otherwise completely bleak situation this country is in, but I can hope right?