Fathers as primary parents – why is this so frowned upon ?

I read this article from The Atlantic  about the experience of a man who chose to support his wife in a carrier more demanding ( and better paid ) than his. It is quite an interesting article and I find that I, for one, am very close to his way of thinking in this matter. What exactly would be so wrong with a man taking a more a active role in raising a child ? Why would you mind that your wife is more successful than you, for that matter ? I will leave you with a few quotes from the article and the link to the original piece.

A dad in his 20s or 30s who takes some time off to care for an infant is adorable. (Think of those Samsung commercials with Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell.) But a dad in his 40s or 50s who limits his work schedule or professional ambition to attend to a teenager is suspect—not least to some women, ironically.

For men, lead parenting can also be lonely. Parent networks are essential for raising children. They transmit crucial information—about good and bad teachers, carpooling, extracurricular activities, summer camps, and much else. These networks tend to be dominated by moms who understandably invest a lot in them socially. At school events, the moms gossip with each other and make plans; I get out my laptop and try to catch up on work. As a fully employed dad with a professorial personality, I find the scene impenetrable. A lawyer I know in San Francisco who managed much of his daughter’s education is more scathing: “At best, the moms tolerate you; at worst, they shun you.” The result is that, except around organized sports, most fathers have difficulty finding buddies from whom to seek support. If you are a man contemplating lead parenting, one of your first imperatives should be to find other lead dads. You will need them.

Promoting gender equality is laudable. Yet if taking the lead at home is so tough, many men may wonder what is in it for them. The answer is a lot.

First, being a lead dad can be good for your marriage. I am passionately committed to academic research and teaching, and I value professional success. But Anne-Marie is more competitive and driven than I am. Her achievements make me proud, and the balance we have struck leaves us happier as a couple.


The article was written by Andrew Moravcsik for The Atlantic.

Image source: Flickr.com

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