Defining the "Daddy Wars"

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

A few weeks ago, I wrote that the silly cover piece in The New Republic on the "Mommy Wars" may have actually launched the Daddy Wars. (The author, James Wolcott, takes a rather dim view of the stroller-pushing, sippy-cup-fetching "Middle Aged Dad.") But to be fair, I don't see much of Wolcott's sentiments out there. I troll the Web for news about fatherhood a lot, and beyond the Wolcott bit and a sublimely bizarre two-year-old rant from Cathy Seipp, I don't see a whole lot of backlash against involved fathers from other fathers.

Still, with all the heat and noise around Mommy Wars -- a term and a concept that I believe overstates conflict between mothers and distracts from thoughful discussion of balance -- I've been wondering for some time if I could define the phrase "daddy wars." Are dads in the middle of any great battles?

The conventional wisdom is no. In the wake of all the attention Leslie's book got, I began shopping around to agents the idea of a book on daddy wars. No one was interested -- the market for books about fatherhood is apparently unattractive. I even registered "daddywars.com," which -- in a world where even parentingsucks.com has been taken -- was available.

The site still lies dormant, and I'm still trying to figure out exactly how to define the term. I'm certain that daddy wars is not about dad-on-dad bashing and judgment, but I am increasingly convinced that there is a coming conflict that will involve fathers. Right now, there are discussions about balance going on in the corporate world. One is over the formal, set-in-stone family policies (leave, flexibility, etc. etc.), and that is increasingly a gender-neutral discussion.

The second set of conversations is about the squishier concept of corporate culture. Can employees really take advantage of the policies without paying a price? That discussion still seems dominated by mothers. But I believe that dads will increasingly have a voice in those debates, and that's where the conflict is likely. As the idea of a "mommy track" gives way to the idea that all parents (and even a good percentage of single folks) will be aggressively taking advantage of policies that give flexibility and options, companies may well begin pushing back. And that pushing match will signify the start of a new conflict: a daddy war.

It's not perfect -- I'd love to hear your thoughts -- but better for us to define it now, rather than to let "daddy wars" become some sort of cartoonish shorthand. You know, like "mommy wars."

Brian Reid writes about parenting and work-family balance. You can read his blog at rebeldad.com.

By Brian Reid |  October 26, 2006; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Dads
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Well, I think that whether or not a dad chooses to stay home for all or part of his children's growing up years, there may be a divide coming up between "traditional daddies" and "family type daddies."

By "traditional daddies" I mean those who, according to the stereotype, come home on Monday evening in time for dinner and announce to the family that they'd better get packed cuz Daddy got promoted and they're all moving on Friday

"Family-type daddies" are presumably more likely to broker an agreement with their organization or boss regarding the promotion and move, either turning it down, delaying it, figuring out how to telecommute. etc. since (a.) their wives have jobs (b.) their kids have needs, special and otherwise (c.) they have aging parents who neeed their assistance, etc. etc. etc.

I can see management having to adapt when fewer guys are willing to move on a moment's notice with no consideration given to the wife's job, etc.

(We're a military family and this has been my experience, anyway. There's a saying in the military, "If the Army wanted me to have a wife, they would have issued me one . . " which kind of summarizes that attitude that your family is like luggage and they should just go wherever you go, no quesitons asked. Lately, we're meeting more and more military families who have been asking for compromises, rather than just accepting the short-notice, bizarre assignment that leaves the wife with no job, a lousy school, or ends up sending the entire family back to Kansas to live with her mother while the husband goes to Guam.)

I think corporate culture IS experiencing tension between the 1950's-type men and the 2000's-type men (and women), in terms of the moving and relocating.

Posted by: Armchair Mom | October 26, 2006 6:58 AM

I've never heard or seen fathers bashing each other over how they take care of their children like mothers do. Most of them are like "well sure, if that works for them then that's great". There is near-unanimous agreement among them that fathers and mothers should share the upbringing of children equally as much as possible, and nearly all of them go to great lengths to make time for their children, even if it impacts their work.

Many new fathers at my office take off two, three weeks from work when their wives give birth to help out at home and bond with their child, and work part-time afterward for several weeks after that. Established fathers visit school events, take their kids to the doctor, and just take time off to be with their children.

No, I think the term "--- wars" is strictly a conflict between women; I've never seen men bash each other on this situation like mothers have. Never.

Posted by: John | October 26, 2006 7:24 AM

I've been relegated to lurker the past few weeks! Nice to see something again that interests me.

Brian, I'd submit that the "Daddy Wars" are much more guerilla-style warfare than the noise and heat of the Mommy Wars. I echo the sentiment that the Daddy Wars are fought mostly with the professional career as the battlefield. I think there are a lot of young fathers (myself included) who think to themselves, "Wow, if I push hard for the next 12-15 years I could be a CEO someplace and be financially set." But the tradeoff is that at that 15 year horizon you would turn around and have teenage children who barely know you and a wife that you haven't emotionally connected with in years. Or, you could opt for a slower track at work and enjoy your family, but then the maximum upside of your career is probably as the unremarkable guy who made VP at the company because he's been here 20 years. Everybody knows that guy and he's either disrespected or under appreciated depending on your viewpoint. Who wants to be that guy?

So, where the war has come in (at least in my case) seems to be on one side the hard charging guys who will take the position that you should get your wife "in-line" with the notion that you'll be working hard so you can relax later in life and it's your responsibility to do that as "the man" (recognizing that society still makes it harder for her to reap an enormous salary). The other side would be that by working all the time you'll raise disconnected, spoiled brats who only view you as a paycheck with legs, and you wind up with a loveless marriage when you hit 55, so what was the point anyway?

I really believe that as women achieve more respect/senior positions in corporate america, an unintended side effect is that men who choose to be close to their families will be subjected to the same career slow-tracking that women have been subjected to for ages. While at least removing the gender bias from the slow-tracking process is no doubt "fairer", shouldn't the goal be to not slow-track talented people who are capable but elect not to work 65 hr weeks?

Corporate america (personified as male in this example) needs to leave room for the fact that I can be a top-notch senior executive without living at the office. Because I insist on being a top-notch dad.

Posted by: Proud Papa | October 26, 2006 7:59 AM

Way to go proud papa! The sad thing about corporate america is that face time does not equal productivity. Modern technology (laptops and crackberries) give us flexibility but if we let it happen they become our leashes.

There are no wars amongst the "troops" whether they wear the rank of mom, dad or childless person. The battles we fight are for good work environments that allow us to be productive members of our community at large. (And I mean the community beyond your office door).

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | October 26, 2006 8:08 AM

Exactly proud papa, just because someone is there for 65 hours a week doesn't mean that they are working any better or smarter than you or I who put in 40.

The daddy war thing perplexes me, but then again so does the mommy war thing.

Posted by: scarry | October 26, 2006 8:11 AM

I don't think there are daddy wars now--and I don't think there will ever be daddy wars. I think that men tend to be careful around other men in not doing or saying anything to insinuate that another man is "uncapable"...it just doesn't happen!

Posted by: Men are Different | October 26, 2006 8:16 AM

Perhaps, there is an underlying gender-specific reason that the 'daddy wars' label hasn't caught on. It seems to me that men grow up in a culture of conflict, for lack of a better phrase; we argue & fight all the time - we're wired that way, mostly - and it's kind of a useful skill.
so some new conflict comes along - hey, we don't feel a need to name it or get our knickers in a knot. it's what we do all the time anyway.

Posted by: bob | October 26, 2006 8:16 AM

Yikes! Six paragraphs about . . . nothing. Brian, not feeling creative lately?

Posted by: Cerulean | October 26, 2006 8:24 AM

There isn't one. For some reason, this just isn't a game that men play. Perhaps it's because we don't define ourselves as completely based on our role as parents. I don't think that means that our children are any less important to us than they are to our wives, but when we look at another man we don't automatically categorize them as "dad" or "non-dad," and for those in the "dad" bucket, that's not the only basis on which we judge them. Or maybe the average man just isn't as socially connected as the average woman, so fitting in and the unspoken norms aren't as big a deal. Be that as it may, we're much more likely to be divided by Jock vs. Nerd than by any "Daddy War."

Posted by: Older Dad | October 26, 2006 8:28 AM

I think bob has put his finger on a key issue. Men do tend to be, on average, more competitive and less collaborative than women. It's really nothing new for the guy in the next cubicle to do things differently from me - and for us to make arguing about it a mutually enjoyable sport.

One key skill most guys learn early on, though competitive games, sports and general roughhousing, is how to play rough but still sense and stay away from the limit where someone would genuinely get hurt. It may just be my imagination, but women who had brothers growing up seem to be better at this (and consequently at dealing with teasing) than women who did not.

Posted by: Older Dad | October 26, 2006 8:35 AM

If anyone would enjoy a _gender_ war, I'd suggest that this is at least one way in which men are far superior to women - the mommy war is incomprehensively dumb. We may pick our noses, pass gas in public, and drink beer until we puke, but at least we don't tear each other up like women do.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 8:39 AM

I think that women are so emotionally complicated that they can't understand themselves, much less other women with differing opinions; hence, the Mommy Wars.

Case in point, there's a reason you never see 3 women in a carpool. I mean, someone has to sit in the back and that's just not fair!

Posted by: Father of 4 | October 26, 2006 8:40 AM

Older Dad

I agree. Women also seem to form and hold personal grudges far longer than men.

Posted by: George | October 26, 2006 8:41 AM

"the unremarkable guy who made VP at the company because he's been here 20 years. Everybody knows that guy and he's either disrespected or under appreciated depending on your viewpoint. Who wants to be that guy?"

I do! I'm not worried about being respected at work (although I believe I am) but I don't want to wake up one morning and wonder who those people are living in my kids' rooms. Of course, this isn't a challenge or compromise for me as I've never been motivated to work massive hours for a massive return. Although some of my bosses would have wanted me to.

Posted by: Burg Dad | October 26, 2006 8:49 AM

Brian,
I think there will be a Daddy Wars sentiment, but not a boil-over War itself. Like posters above, I think that it will be more incidious - taking the form of teasing by colleagues, mommy-tracking of men who want to actively parent their children, etc.
My husband, who works 30 hours per week so that he can be home with our kids two days a week, does feel mommy-tracked at times. He has the highest seniority amongst his colleagues, and the highest title, but is not given as many sexy assignments "because he's part-time". When his supposed inability to take on these projects came up at his annual review, he challenged his boss by saying "try me" and then proving that he could do a great job with one. But, it is a problem.
Manliness is often measured by job title and salary in this society. Any other definition can be threatening at first. 'Traditional' men can react by puzzlement, teasing, fear (that they too will be asked to actively parent or do half the housework), prejudice or accusation. I sincerely hope a real Daddy Wars scene will never happen, and that there will be room for all types of families, fathers, and arrangements.

Posted by: equal | October 26, 2006 8:51 AM

Some of the guys are saying that we as men do not tear each other down as much as women do, and I think that's only half-true.

While we may not make as big a dramatic show of it as (some) women do I think that we are equally as likely to write another guy off if we think he's inept at a given skill, whether he's a bad Wide Receiver or a bad Manager. Whether the guy dropped a wide-open pass in the playoffs or he had to go tend to his kids at a key point in the sales cycle, we write that guy off. No screaming confrontation is necessary, we just make the mental note that we don't want That Guy on our team.

So, I would agree with the notion that the DaddyWars is a guerilla war.

Posted by: Random Guy | October 26, 2006 8:59 AM

Regarding corporate culture, I work for a large high-tech company and they do give dads 1 wk paid leave for birth of a baby. However, when I needed more time after that it was "use your vacation time". when I asked for part-time, it was "No,.. but you can quit.".

In the high-tech world, we are competing in a global economy. We are growing jobs in India faster than at home - outsourcing thousands of new jobs weekly. I am fortunate to have a job so I can support my family. When my employer says jump, I say "how high?". When they screw my, I bend over and take it like Foley's pageboys. I am in no position to bargain for any benefits, let alone start a daddy war. Job security hangs by a thread and I am at the mercy of a strong Indian wind.

Posted by: Tex | October 26, 2006 8:59 AM

Today, the spectrum of life style or famiy roles is extremely wide, on one pole there is the role of, 'fully employed, working mom' and on the other pole is is 'stay at home mom'. With more choices comes more chances of being wrong, and i think that increasing insecurity is at the root of the mommy wars.

On the male side, the spectrum of choices isnt nearly as wide as womens, and for that reason, the insecurity that plauges added choices isnt a huge force in the male pshyche. The tensions that men face right now are with women as both struggle to find their ideal role in which they are both comfortable and rewarded.

As society evolves, and the spectrum for men widens, I do think that some form of daddy wars will erupt and it seems entirely plaisbile that corporate policies can become not only on issue, but a weapon, in these wars.

I have to say though, that there seems to be a case of wanting your cake and eating it too-ism going on. If there are two identical employees, and one goes off and has a family and decides to devote more time to the family, there is NO REASON to belive that the two employees would be equally productive. none at all.

Posted by: bird | October 26, 2006 8:59 AM

There is an assumption here that as women climb the ladder, men will take over caretaking and have to face the "daddy wars"-type issues. I disagree. There is nothing statistically to suggest that as women rise, men assume more caretaking responsibilities. To the contrary, women in high powered positions still, on average, do a substantial percentage more caretaking at home as compare to their husbands. So I think the Daddy Wars idea rests on a false premise.

Father involvement in caretaking has to rise to a level that is comparable to women's--the impact on men's careers (and their employers) is like caretaking's current impact on women for anyone to notice or care about dads' decisions regarding balance. That's a long ways away.

Posted by: Rebel Mom | October 26, 2006 9:01 AM

I doubt there will be "daddy-wars" in the same sense that there are "mommy-wars" so long as childcare is still regarded as "women's work". That is not to say that fathers aren't affected by patriarchal norms. I once had a co-worker who blew the whistle on his supervisors and co-workers ( he was in the IRS). As retaliation, his boss used wrote an unsatisfactory job evaluation AFTER this man had taken paternity leave for the birth of his son. One of the complaints? He was "slacking off" due to his time out of the office. I think as more and more young fathers demand to be seen as parenting equals, the more men will experience just how patriarchal the workplace is. But, to repeat my earlier point, I don't think men will or do feel as guilty as women or feel they are failing as fathers for spending less time doing traditional child care. Please understand, I am not trying to imply that men are insensitive or that they love their children less than mothers. I only mean that society seems to expect mothers to give 100% and if they are working mothers, to give 100% in the workplace as well as home and as such, working moms feel they are failing in the home and SAHM feel they aren't valued because they aren't able to contribute financially.

Posted by: LM in WI | October 26, 2006 9:02 AM

I agree with a lot of the above. That is why I found it stressful to have many girlfriends (I too am a lady.) They are very caddy.

Guys can be really truthful and upfront with one another without feelings getting hurt. I wish women were more thick skinned sometimes--including me!

Posted by: Lou | October 26, 2006 9:03 AM

Men are more objective and results-driven. If an employee produces, I don't care if he's a 40hr/week or 60hr/week guy. I don't care if he runs off when his kid is sick or attends his daughter's play. I respect his decisions. As long as he gets the work done - that's the only criteria. How much time he spends at the office does not necessarily correspond to how much work he does.

Posted by: Mano | October 26, 2006 9:08 AM

I think the "daddy wars" concept is a non-issue for a number of reasons.

WARNING: Broad generalizations follow.

* First, men have managed very successfully to dramatically change the role they play in families, in a very positive way. I don't know a single dad of my generation (I have two young kids) who wasn't vastly more involved in parenting then our dads were. They change diapers, do midnight feedings, walk and walk and walk with colicy babies, push strollers and swings, and connect with their kids in a way that the men of the previous generation did not. And, I think, they find their new more involved role to be tremendously emotionally rewarding.

* While the working men I know generally wish they could spend more time with their kids, they usually don't have primary responsibility for making sure that the kids are being cared for twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Either this is done by the mom, or the mom, if she works, does most of the arranging and worrying about nannies, daycare, after school care, summer camp, etc.

* While women worry about being there less for their kids than the previous generation, men know that they are there more, even if their roles are still not as great as the woman's.

* Men don't seem to scale back their careers significantly once they have kids, at least not for long. In perticular, there just aren't a lot of men giving up work and staying home with their kids. I have a feeling that many of those men DO feel somewhat conflicted or defensive.

* Finally, the whole concept of a "daddy war" requires men be introspective about their role in the world, the workplace, and the family. Most men simply don't spend a lot of time and energy thinking about these things. Women seem to have a far greater tendency to reflect and even agonize about stuff like that - just look at how many self-help books are aimed at women vs. men.

Posted by: Virginia | October 26, 2006 9:12 AM

Two Words: "Mark Warner"
There is no war. Most male commentators applauded Governor Warner for stating that he wanted to spend time with his family. He'll be back in 6 or 10 years when all of his kids are in college. Nobody (except maybe some eager aides) faults the Governor for taking a breather to spend time with his kids and then hopping back in the saddle in a few years. Sorry, I just don't see mileage in this story - men who are making these choices are not being chastised nor do they need to be defensive.

Posted by: Full time Dad/Full Time Job | October 26, 2006 9:12 AM

This is silly. There's no such thing as Daddy Wars. And except for Leslie's attempts to stir the pot on this blog I don't see evidence of Mommy Wars either.

Posted by: just curious | October 26, 2006 9:13 AM

"We may pick our noses, pass gas in public, and drink beer until we puke, but at least we don't tear each other up like women do."

I think this comment is so right on. I think the mommywars is more of an outgrowth of a tendency of women to tear each other up, and daddywars--I don't think it's a concept that will ever take root because I think the way men compete is just different.

That said, my husband is...awesome. He's a shark of a corporate lawyer, but he is the most hands-on nurturer I have ever seen. He out-does me in that department a dozen times over. As far as balance goes between us, I think we've got the whole thing down pretty well as we share household duties very evenly (I would say he probably handles more of it just because he thinks he's "better" at it).

I think the concept of balance is about recognizing each partner's gifts--in parenting, in managing a household, in taking care of pets, in making money, in everything. The concept of competition and gender "wars" comes when people are insecure in their roles in the household and thus in the outside world. Just my 2 cents.

Posted by: MSL | October 26, 2006 9:21 AM

I would disagree with someone who says, categorically, that there are no Daddy Wars. In the sense that there is no public debate about the subject, there is no war. But, in the sense that the issue exists, then it could be more aptly defined as a "cold war" or a sub-critical conflict. I was recently downsized out of a job and one of the reasons whihc I know played a part was my voicing concerns with an unofficial (but verbally stated) policy of "in at 7Am, out at 7PM. I have a young daughter (no-one else there had young kids) and I was unwilling to not see her during the week in order to maintain "facetime expectations". Was I ostracized for that decision? Absolutely - there is no question whatsoever that the attitude changed towards me. The conflict exists and if you want to spend time with your children and you male, in many organizations (especially down here in the South) you are viewed as being "soft" or somehow less of a man.

Posted by: EinAtl | October 26, 2006 9:26 AM

How many times are you going to use "When they screw my, I bend over and take it like Foley's pageboys."? It's not funny, it's not clever--but it is inappropriate. please stop.

Posted by: to tex | October 26, 2006 9:26 AM

No daddy wars, Brian.
No book deal for you.

You could try stirring the pot with "Cardinals #1!"

Posted by: Mano | October 26, 2006 9:27 AM

Proud Papa, great post! I was wondering where you've been.

In addition to the corporate culture issues, I think that the conflict surrounding daddies will be more of a struggle among men to determine what the societal norm should be for men. There have certainly been a number of posters on this board criticizing SAH dad's as somehow not manly (remember the horrible "jewels in the jar" comment?), and I think there's no doubt that men can tear each other up very effectively on the subject of being manly enough - I'm thinking of all the jokes about wives wearing the pants, men being whipped by their wives, and of course homophobia. As more men come to identify themselves as involved dads and caregivers and equal partners with their wives, I think the conflict will be over whether that should become a new identity for men, as it seems to threaten some men who prefer traditional roles.

Posted by: Megan | October 26, 2006 9:27 AM

* Men don't seem to scale back their careers significantly once they have kids, at least not for long. In perticular, there just aren't a lot of men giving up work and staying home with their kids. I have a feeling that many of those men DO feel somewhat conflicted or defensive.*

Man, this is just a large misconception. I think that a lot of us white-collar dads out here really do change our expectations for career. Once upon a time I really wanted to have the world by the tail. These days I would be happy with 6 hours of sleep every night. Just because I don't stay home every day with the kids doesn't mean my career track has not changed. I don't need anybody's pity, but don't act like my sacrifice does not exist.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 9:30 AM

OK, how about, "When my employer takes advantage of me, I just submit and try to enjoy it."

because that happens all the time and it's no use fighting it anymore.

Posted by: Tex | October 26, 2006 9:30 AM

I climbed the ladder all my life and when I got to the top, it wasn't much of a view at all.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 9:32 AM

I think that Proud Papa is right about a potential war about giving up fast tracking your career to spend moe time with the kids, but I see it as a more internal war than external one. Partly this is because I think women are much more sensitive to the silent judgement of others. I really don't much notice that other people are making subtle comments about my choices.
I've struggled with it myself and comfortable just working 45 hours a week and being with my kids and I don't really know what other people say, my boss just tells me I'm efficient and very good at turning projects around, but then again, where I work it seems that most of the people have decided to work here despite the fact that it is not super competitive in terms of pay because it doesn't force you to work insane hours. But still, I wonder what I could do if I put everything into my work like some other people.

Posted by: Chris | October 26, 2006 9:37 AM

There is only one real "daddy war" in this country and that is the almost total marginalization of fathers and their biological families from their children at the time of divorce in approx.35 + states. Until the Nazis of NOW stop this campaign the children of this country will continue to suffer the consecquences which are substantial. Children need both parents if they are to turn out normal, but again thanks to the Nazis at NOW that is not the case.

Posted by: mcewen | October 26, 2006 9:42 AM

I agree with Random Guy and Tex. My husband is in IT and while no one cares about face-time, he simply can't get enough done in 40 hours. He works all day, and generally 4 - 6 more hours in the evening from home to keep his job. Period. He has had past bosses compliment him on his commitment to parenting, and it's not a compliment. If he handles a doctor's appointment or leaves early to get our son to soccer practice, the guys don't comment, but they all make that mental note -- I don't know whether I want this person on My Team because he's not sufficiently committed to solving today's crisis.

In my work environment, the dads who prioritize their families first are viewed by the other guys as insufficiently ambitious and not committed to their careers for the long haul. The women think that the family-first guys assist our search for balance, but since such guys are viewed as marginal players by those in charge, it doesn't help.

Just another view to balance out those who think all dads are on the same page with respect to fatherhood across a wide-variety of workplaces. If that's true, it's not true in IT or the law, at least from what I see.

Posted by: NC Lawyer | October 26, 2006 9:42 AM

While all you guys are patting yourselves on the back for being so supremely calm, rational, and non-confrontational, let me point out a fundamental difference between the genders.

Women are social animals. This is not to be confused with "sociable," mind you, as that implies getting along. No, women are "social" -- that is, they thrive in roles in which they interact with people. For better or worse. (After all, going for each other's throats on a blog IS interacting.)

Conversely, in terms of evolution, men have developed to be single, lone-wolf types -- the alpha in a pride of lions. So, they do their work in stealth and avoid interacting at all costs. Men aren't social; they dominate or are dominated.

So, while you guys all think that you're so very superior -- in temperament, behavior, attitude, and ability -- keep in mind that you're only operating within your evolutionary blueprint. And that's no great accomplishment.

Posted by: pittypat | October 26, 2006 9:45 AM

"In my work environment, the dads who prioritize their families first are viewed by the other guys as insufficiently ambitious and not committed to their careers for the long haul. The women think that the family-first guys assist our search for balance, but since such guys are viewed as marginal players by those in charge, it doesn't help."

That's not a daddy war - that's a "we don't care what you do when you're not here, but if you're gonna get ahead in THIS organization we want 120% out of you 24/7." That's not a healthy work environment, but it's not a who's the REAL dad - daycare dad or stay-at-home dad fight.

Please, guys - don't let the women seduce you to the dark side. We don't need this kind of dumb intramural fight. [On the other hand, go ahead and fight a daddy war - while you're doing that, I'll hang out out with the chicks ;-) ]

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 9:52 AM

pittypat, I think that this was the implication all along, the way that men are hard-wired makes a daddy war less likely. I'm not sure what trying to denigrate it by saying they are patting themselves on the back and doing something special accomplishes, unless of course your form of being social is tearing others down.

Posted by: Chris | October 26, 2006 9:54 AM

While I agree with pittypat somewhat, I don't think it's that simple. Keep in mind that the more energy women expend fighting each other, the less they have to devote to solving actual problems. I think, in large part, the mommy wars generates so much hype because it distracts women from solving real issues, which benifits corporations and keeps women out of positions of power.

Posted by: jpdeaton | October 26, 2006 9:55 AM

"That said, my husband is...awesome. He's a shark of a corporate lawyer, but he is the most hands-on nurturer I have ever seen. He out-does me in that department a dozen times over. As far as balance goes between us, I think we've got the whole thing down pretty well as we share household duties very evenly (I would say he probably handles more of it just because he thinks he's "better" at it).

I think the concept of balance is about recognizing each partner's gifts..."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, MSL, where is the balance here? You've got a husband who feels the need to do everything better than you, and you don't see any problem with this?

Reread this: "...he is the most hands-on nurturer I have ever seen. He out-does me in that department a dozen times over."

So, he's a nurturing guy, but the whole thing is a big competition?

Where, exactly, do you fit in? If he's the best lawyer, the best caretaker, the best housekeeper, etc., what's your role?

You say that "the concept of balance is about recognizing each partner's gifts..." Does he recognize your gifts? Do you expect him to?

You may have a wonderful husband, and your homelife may seem in perfect balance. But the picture seems way off-kilter to me.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 9:55 AM

There are no "daddy wars" or "mommy wars", there is no corporate "battlefield" where you manage the "troops". However, there is a REAL war going on as we speak in Iraq, with REAL battlefields and REAL troops dying everyday (to make no mention of countless civilian casualties). Maybe we should all take a step back and gain a little perspective, no?

Posted by: american | October 26, 2006 9:58 AM

pittypat, I thought there was no difference between the sexes. That's what NOW and the feminists are always pushing - that there is no biological difference, both genders are equal, equivalent, interchangeable. Women can be on the front lines fighting wars. Men can be full-time stay-at-home parents cooking and cleaning. how dare you bring up hard-wired differences between the sexes!

Posted by: Mano | October 26, 2006 10:00 AM

*That's not a daddy war - that's a "we don't care what you do when you're not here, but if you're gonna get ahead in THIS organization we want 120% out of you 24/7." That's not a healthy work environment, but it's not a who's the REAL dad - daycare dad or stay-at-home dad fight.*

Point taken that the Daddy War is not the same kind of war as the Mommy War. But to the extent that there are opposing viewpoints standing in the way of the best solution/understanding for both, then it's still a gender war.

OK, having written that last sentence it does look odd to call that a war when we have real wars going on. But if we are to stick with the colloquial then calling this a Daddy War is no less valid IMHO.

Posted by: Random Guy | October 26, 2006 10:01 AM

Fascinating stuff. And I suspect there are many variables involved:

1. Where you live (urban v. suburban, north v. south, etc.)

2. Husband's job v. wife's job

3. Income level

4. Profession

Consider my case. I'm in advertising in the northeast, as is my wife...but she's higher on the ad-scene scale than I am, pay-wise and title-wise. So in order to preserve her earning potential, I'm usually the one that has to leave the office just after 5 every day to be home by 6 to relieve the nanny. Of course, I know that doesn't sit well with some of my superiors, whose wives stay home with the kids...but that's life. And as long as I have to leave that early, I'm not going to be a fast-tracker at this agency. So...."daddy wars?" Might be too intense of a term, but maybe "low-scale daddy conflict" might be better. Unless a guy has a working wife and can understand the dynamic firsthand, he's generally not going to be sympathetic to a guy who does have a working wife and who does to have to leave earlier than he does/chooses to.

Posted by: dtaylor | October 26, 2006 10:02 AM

We'd be a lot better off as a society if we stopped using the term "war" to describe everything from moral conflict to mere differences of opinion. Do we really need daddywars.com? How exactly is this making society better.

I can tell you one thing -- if you are expecting the same kind of reaction that you've gotten to the Mommy Wars tripe, you won't get it. Dad's won't play along. We have no interest in comparing ourselves to other Dads. They're conduct is irrelevant to our lives. We've got enough conflict in our lives in the office and with our spouses.

Other than the now gender-neutral fight for flex-time and parental leave, we're simply too busy to concern ourselves with such things. We have work to do and kids to raise. See ya.

Posted by: DC Lawyer | October 26, 2006 10:03 AM

Apes are closer to humans than wolves or lions. Female apes teach their daughters how to use tools; male apes wrestle with their sons.

Female apes spend a lot of time keeping an eye on the young; male apes spend a lot of time looking mean and fierce.

Posted by: DZ | October 26, 2006 10:05 AM

We need the term "war" to sell books, to make a mountain out of a molehill. We all know the conflict is pretty miniscule, but authors need to make a living. Newspapers need to sell online ads. Come on, play along!!

Posted by: Mano | October 26, 2006 10:09 AM

Most of the best stuff on this subject has already been said. I agree with most of the writers, a Daddy War (of the Mommy War type) won't erupt because of the differences between men and women on dealing with such topics.

But I had a few tidbits that occurred as I read the above.

To Fof4: "I think that women are so emotionally complicated that they can't understand themselves, much less other women with differing opinions; hence, the Mommy Wars...Case in point, there's a reason you never see 3 women in a carpool..."

That goes back to something I said earlier in watching my five sisters interact (especially fight). Women engage each other at so many other levels emotionally and otherwise than men are unaware of. It sort of like a human/dog whistle thing for us guys. We don't even see or hear it, and are oblivious. And since women apparently prefer us that way in this topic, it works out well for both sides (except for when we have to listen to them later download the resultant frustrations about how that other sorry woman did/said whatever.)

And as I read Rebel Mom, a thought exercise occurred to me about a common complaint:

"...women in high powered positions still, on average, do a substantial percentage more caretaking at home as compare to their husbands."

Outside the caregiving role, I thought about how often many (most?) women judge each other about items on the home front. We've had many people in this forum comment that they are so busy they have to drop something, so they let housekeeping go compared to what they would want in a perfect world. Fine.

But I wonder for those high powered women Rebel Mom spoke of, since they are so busy at work, would most of them let your husband control home front items when they most count? Would you trust him to clean up/decorate/prepare the setting/menu for example an all female social gathering of your fussiest friends (or whatever social grouping you feel most delicately about)? Or would you worry that no matter how critical/busy your position, that if everything wasn't just the way you wanted it, that it would reflect on you, even if the invitees knew your husband handled much on the home front due to your high powered job?

The point of this thought exercise is that if you buy into saying that you as a woman are the final owner of the "caretaking", regardless of whether yo are doing it or not, are you every truly going to trust anyone else to do it when it matters most? (Obviously this analogy fails somewhat if you are wealthy enough to have servants for everything.)

I submit that women believe that most guys just don't have that little voice (gene?) that says everything has to be perfect, in it's place, or done just so, or it's not right.

And if you feel the above is true, then no matter how much guys change, do try, or earnestly want to take on such roles in the future, women are likely doomed to be "doing a substantial percentage more caretaking at home as compare to their husbands."

Thoughts? The first impulse has always been to blame guys for not doing enough, but if women push them out of their perceived areas, then it is really just the "lazy guys" fault?

And before you load up the cannon, this is a obviously both generalization and hints at a stereotype, and there are of course many exceptions. So that's all granted going in...but it still seemed like an interesting thought exercise.

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | October 26, 2006 10:09 AM

Scaling back to take care of my wife and daughter was the best career move I've ever made!

I have three "bosses" who can assign me work. Basically, I told all of them I'm available from 8:30 to 5:00. Anything outside of those times will have to wait. When they grumble, their work gets demoted in priority (I keep a visible task list, so everyone knows what I'm working on). I got the idea from an old Seinfeld episode where everyone is concerened about thier place on the speed dial.

There aren't any daddy wars. It's football season, the World Series, DC United's marching toward their 5th MLS Cup, hockey's on, basketball's about to start.

We don't have time for such nonsense. If omen watched sports, they wouldn't either.

Posted by: Jacknut | October 26, 2006 10:10 AM

"Children need both parents if they are to turn out normal, but again thanks to the Nazis at NOW that is not the case."

mcewen (aka Bitter, Noncustodial Dad?) --

Let's examine this sentence, shall we? Because it's rather vague, and we want your views clarified as much as possible.

1. You are suggesting that children cannot grow up to be "normal" if they don't have two parents. But you don't tell us what "normal" is. Please explain.

2. You say, "but again thanks to the Nazis," but you don't indicate what happened first and then was repeated. To what does "again" refer?

3. You've capitalized "Nazis," so we must assume you're referring to the pre-WWII, German National Socialist party. However, they were pretty effectively put out of business by 1946, so how are they figuring into your discussion? And why are you thanking them?

4. You mention NOW, and we have to assume, albeit from your vague and insubstantial context, that you refer to the National Organization for Women. How, precisely, are they involved with an extinct political party last active over 60 years ago?

5. You assert that, thanks to these dead guys at NOW, something (loosely expressed as "that")won't be "the case."
5a. To what does "that" refer?
5b. What is "the case"? Normalcy? Dual-parenting?

You see, mcewen, you can't make a case for something if you don't tell us what that something is. You learned this in school. There is a subject. The subject does an action. The action has a result. Each of these -- subject, action, and result -- must be clearly defined or your audience won't have a clue what you're talking about.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 10:15 AM

No "Daddy Wars" - but I think this is because men are praised if they go to work and succeed (oh, and then can maybe support a SAHM) or men are praised for being a SAHD or a hands-on parents. Women are criticized for being a SAHM because they are not contributing to the economy, using their degree etc... Or, women are criticized for working and not spending enough time with their children. Men get the positive message either way. Women don't. This comes from other women and from men. So, are women more defensive about whichever choice they make? I'd think so, since either one requires some amount of defense to at least a significant part of the population that disagrees with whichever choice is made.

Add to this pervasive cultural messages - for example, an ad in today's paper for a national department store shows men in suits side by side women in causal wear. Hmmm, men work and women don't. Dads who stay home are still an anomoly and yes, appluaded for their unique and non-traditional choices. There are different worlds for men and women and men don't need the "Daddy Wars."

Posted by: SS | October 26, 2006 10:16 AM

The Daddy Wars are REAL. I was the assistant to our VP and a major Go-To guy for technology solutions. I consistently represented the company at conferences and in client meetings until Christmas 2004. We had a meeting about a new company initiative. I put together an outline of a plan, then took TWO days off for Christmas and when I returned a junior guy had completed the entire project- at least 40 hours of work. Flabbergasted, I asked him, "How did you do it?" He said he got into a fight with his parents and locked himself into his room to work on the project all-day Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and installed and launched it at work the day after Christmas. After that point he immediately started representing the company and became the Go-To technology guy and within 6 months I was forced out as all my perks were switched over to him.

I do not really regret spending Christmas with my family instead of at the office, but THAT is the reality of the Daddy Wars and I'm very resentful of it.

Posted by: Bethesdan | October 26, 2006 10:18 AM

"pittypat, I thought there was no difference between the sexes. That's what NOW and the feminists are always pushing - that there is no biological difference, both genders are equal, equivalent, interchangeable. Women can be on the front lines fighting wars. Men can be full-time stay-at-home parents cooking and cleaning. how dare you bring up hard-wired differences between the sexes!"

Guess you got the message wrong, mano.

Feminism has never been about eliminating the differences between men and women. It's always been about demonstrating that women's differences from men don't make them UNequal.

The tasks to which individuals put themselves (housekeeping, soldiering, cleaning, car repair, etc.) are not indicative of the limits of their abilities -- only of their needs or preferences.

And, as your sense of humor seems to be hiding out today, let me point out that my post was partly tongue-in-cheek. You guys are being pretty thin-skinned today!

Posted by: pittypat | October 26, 2006 10:25 AM

Other men make jokes that Stay At Home Dads are gay. Women may not hear the jokes, but they are there and common. I stayed home 3 days in one month when my son was catching every virus known to man and people who were not my supervisors would repeat that old Eddie Murphy joke, lisping, "Oh You're THO THENTHITIVE, Tito get me a tissue." (so sensitive). FMLA or not, men are joking behind your back. Whether or not you let them bother you is

Posted by: Bethesdan | October 26, 2006 10:26 AM

SS and mcewen are two sides of the same coin.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 10:28 AM

I don't see "Daddy Wars" happening in the sense of one Dad judging another Dad's decisions, Dads competing over who has made the best decisions for their kids..that, I don't see. The struggle for Dads these days, and it really is just an emerging struggle that is barely recognized right now, is against institutions leftover from a previous era that don't leave room for fatherhood, or parenthood, for that matter.
Yes, beyond any doubt you really do face judgement in the workplace if you are deeply involved in your kids' lives and insist on not defining yourself by your job. But I don't think that experience is different for us than it is for women -- you get pigeonholed at work if you take the kids to the doctor sometimes and leave at 5 in order to make soccer practice, regardless of your gender. Pushing corporations to make room for parenthood and recognize that, especially in a wireless world, productivity can't really be measured in terms of face-time in the office...well, that's a struggle for dads, but it's the same struggle working moms face.
I think that there is a nascent masculinist movement many years behind the feminist movement that will emerge in the next 20 years to question our cultural definition of what is male and why -- for each individual man, what is real strength and what is just aggressive insecurity -- and the role of fatherhood in society is a major part of that. We need desperately to recognize the importance of fatherhood and the consequences of marginalizing it. That battle will involve everything from the workplace to the custody system to the social acceptance of SAHDs, but it's not a Dad-on-Dad war as much as it is a men-vs-established institutions war.
Dad-on-Dad flaming...I just haven't seen much of it. Dads being typecast at the office and put on a slower career-development track because they emphasize their kids, even if they are the most capable guy in the office? Yeah, I've seen that in several workplaces.

Posted by: sct | October 26, 2006 10:28 AM

"Other men make jokes that Stay At Home Dads are gay."

Bethesdan --

So what? Guys can't ignore that kind of crap? Thought you all were the ones who don't tear each other down!

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 10:30 AM

10:30 anon, the tone of your comment seems to fly in the face of SS's 10:16 message that Dads are always hailed as liberators and heroes no matter what.

Come on, get back on the devaluing Dad propaganda track. Did you lose your talking points memo?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 10:38 AM

" It may just be my imagination, but women who had brothers growing up seem to be better at this (and consequently at dealing with teasing) than women who did not"

It's not your imagination. I have 3 brothers and most of my friends are men. If mommy wars exist, I am oblivious to them. Sometimes, I really wish I could work out conflict with other women by having a physical fight and then sitting down to watch tv together 10 minutes later--without endless apologies and analysis of our feelings. Whenever I encounter judgments about my choices and how I raise my kids, my usual reaction is something like 'what an insecure person that woman is--guess I don't want to be friends with her.' Plus, I know there are just as many judgments in the minds of men (about whether I should be home or work or how masculine my husband is when he does all the shopping and much of the cleaning). They just don't bother communicating them to women they hardly know.

Posted by: Part-timer | October 26, 2006 10:40 AM

I wouldn't call it a "war" but there's definitely a conflict brewing. My experience is that it's generational. This year has been tremendously family-intensive for my husband and he's taken heat for it. Basically the company had about a week's tolerance for flexibility and then it was done! This from a baby boomer boss who's on his third marriage...

On the other hand, I've seen more and more yound fathers who have bosses closer to their age who not also are accomidating of say picking up from daycare, but are on the way out the door to do it themselves!

Posted by: PTJobFTMom | October 26, 2006 10:45 AM

There is an assumption here that as women climb the ladder, men will take over caretaking and have to face the "daddy wars"-type issues. I disagree. There is nothing statistically to suggest that as women rise, men assume more caretaking responsibilities. To the contrary, women in high powered positions still, on average, do a substantial percentage more caretaking at home as compare to their husbands. So I think the Daddy Wars idea rests on a false premise.

Father involvement in caretaking has to rise to a level that is comparable to women's--the impact on men's careers (and their employers) is like caretaking's current impact on women for anyone to notice or care about dads' decisions regarding balance. That's a long ways away.
-----------
Where are you getting your info?

Amongst my friends every Dad has to, and often brags they:
1. Do the laundry, wash the dishes, vaccuum or one or more housecleaning tasks completely solo as part of chore sharing. I do all the household laundry and my wife does none of it. I hired a housekeeper on top of this as did about half of our friends. Other tasks we split.
2. All the fathers I know have one child responsibility: Bath, bedtime, wake-up, breakfast, etc that they are solely responsible for.
3. All fathers make dinner 2-3 days a week or more. None of my friends do not cook and all make dinner multiple times per week. Their wives absolutely demand this. For a period of time we had a group of friends who met for dinner every Friday night as well.
4. At least 50% of the kids at the daycare are dropped off or picked up or both from their fathers, because that's how I get this info, while I'm talking to Dads at pick up.
5. Many of the fathers I know watch the kids completely solo while their wives travel for business. So on those days/weeks they are the sole caregivers.
6. Many of the fathers I know take or are given the Saturday sports events as another solo caregiving event.
7. My wife demands equal time off rules for illnesses so that she doesn't eat up her leave.

This is probably different in DC than in Manassass. I have found that amongst my peers of young Dads, we compete with our wives to be more of a part of our children's lives. My wife is quite vocal about her demands, re: cleaning the house, watching the youngins, cooking, tasks that she will not pick up the slack on (laundry, vacuuming and other cleaning machines) as well as "I'm not cooking tonight."

Society has changed. Dads are expected to do more- though the battle with single men is still real. Women voice their opinions on what they want and they see examples of that in the media. When you say that "father involvement has to rise to a level of women's" you're talking about trying to put objective criteria on something that is wildly unobjective and entirely subjective- there are NO statistics that make sense in parenting. My father was a lousy little league assistant who everyone, including me, hated to have around. Yet what, would you analyze his hours spent parenting and calculate it that way? My mother was MORE effective in LESS time, switching between my sibs, than my slow-moving Dad ever was. No stats make sense in parenting, so drop that from the repetoire.

If women want fatherly involvement, demand it. When you battle your spouse for time with the kids then recognize you WON, don't complain you HAVE to do the work when you either belittle Dad's cooking or cleaning or dressing Lulu in the morning. I find that more women in my office feel uncomfortable with fatherly involvement based on their dreams of guiding their child's lives than actively demand fatherly involvement.

So I would say, if you want something, don't whine to your friends, that's the dumbest plan ever, demand your spouse do it. Oh yeah, you won't be Mrs. Cleaver or Harriett Nelson, and you lose the right to complain that you're doing everything solo, but that's what you want, right?

Posted by: Bethesdan | October 26, 2006 10:52 AM

"Other men make jokes that Stay At Home Dads are gay."

Bethesdan --

So what? Guys can't ignore that kind of crap? Thought you all were the ones who don't tear each other down!
---------

No one EVER gave ANYONE the impression EVER that men didn't fight. Look at every war in history. What a bizarro world statement. Who is our president?

Posted by: Bethesdan | October 26, 2006 10:56 AM

Off topic:

The downside of having a flexible, work at home position: You have no reason not to work even when the office is closed because of a blizzard. Curses, foiled again!

Posted by: Megan | October 26, 2006 10:59 AM

"Point taken that the Daddy War is not the same kind of war as the Mommy War. But to the extent that there are opposing viewpoints standing in the way of the best solution/understanding for both, then it's still a gender war."

What barrier are we talking about here? Men don't assume that there's a single "best solution" for everyone. With men, it's "you want to be a corporate samurai, I want to be a Little League coach, fine - you'll make the big bucks, and I'll go to the ballpark on Saturday." We understand each other perfectly - we just don't make the same choices, and that's o.k.


It seems to take a woman to think "you're staying home with your kids instead of pursuing a career like me - No Fair, you're calling me a BAD MOTHER!"

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 11:02 AM

Tex:

I totally agree that some women do push men aside when it comes to caretaking.

Is that because we think that men can't do it? Maybe sometimes. Is that because we think that even if men can women should (society's influence)? Sometimes. Is it because our standards are different? Perhaps.

Because you inquired, yes, I would trust Rebel Dad to plan anything you mentioned or to take care of our girls. (Obviously--he was a SAHD until recently.)

If men are pushed aside, they can and should push back. I often see a kind of dance that ends with the two people in traditional gender roles. That is both people's fault.

I certainly don't give men a pass just because the woman is willing to do the work or because it's difficult to negotiate roles.

I also, by the way, don't listen much to smart, talented women who whine that their husbands don't do more but do nothing to change the balance at home.

Women and men should demand more of each other.

Posted by: Rebel Mom | October 26, 2006 11:03 AM

Yikes. Can I please read more comments about "how women are" written by a bunch of dudes?

Brian asked about Daddy Wars, not Mommy Wars. I guess men don't harass each other but have no problem tearing women down, do you?

Count me out today.

Posted by: Meesh | October 26, 2006 11:05 AM

I wonder if the reason there are no daddy wars is because raising children is not yet seen by most men as something they strongly identify with as a part of their personality. Having spent a lot of time in two mostly male environments (engineering school) and long distance hiking on the Appalachian Trail, male environments can be intensely (and unpleastantly) competitive. In both cases there were continual challenges and put downs about grades/job opportunities in the case of the school and type of equipment/hiking style in the case of the trail. Men continually criticized other men behind their backs because of different choices of majors, equipment, etc. If the majoriety of men became as vested in child-rearing as they are in sports or school I could see some pretty intense competition arising.


Is the war/competitiveness aspect based on how important the specific activity ( work, child raising, school) is to defining a gender's role as seen by society ?

Posted by: kep | October 26, 2006 11:08 AM

"Yikes. Can I please read more comments about "how women are" written by a bunch of dudes?"

Absolutely! For myself, I'll be glad to knock it off as long as I can don't have to read more comments from women insisting that "yes indeed, there is a daddy war." Speaking as someone who's been a dad for almost two decades, we just don't have these intragender fights.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 11:09 AM

"Is the war/competitiveness aspect based on how important the specific activity ( work, child raising, school) is to defining a gender's role as seen by society ?"

Could be. My identity isn't challenged if the guy down the street doesn't think I'm particularly good at auto repair, or thinks it's insane that I prefer a Corvette to a Porsche. Similarly, the fact that he's a really great soccer coach and all the kids love him doesn't cause me any real heartburn. And honestly, now - should it?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 11:12 AM

Although there are some thoughtful comments from some men on today's blog, I am skeptical that there are daddy wars.

Sounds like Brian Reid is trying to drum up enough "evidence" that there is in fact a "Daddy War" so that he can write a book, get on the Today's Show to hawk it and make an absurb amount of cash. Good Luck Brian!

Posted by: cmac | October 26, 2006 11:13 AM

I recently started a blog for "fathers after 40" so I'm always on the lookout for issues that relate to parental age. I recently read a piece in a parenting magazine geared mainly for women about the supposed rift between younger first-time mothers and their older counterparts. It quoted some younger mothers who were upset that older moms sometimes look down on them because they perceive them as inexperienced. And it struck me that I've never heard of any kind of similar conversations between older and younger dads. I mean, although we might have some different health and financial issues facing us, I still tend to look at other dads as just dads, regardless of age. So there doesn't seem to be a Daddy War looming along age-group boundaries, at least for dads of both groups with very young children.

Posted by: Daddy G. | October 26, 2006 11:14 AM

Someone above said this, "Men do tend to be, on average, more competitive and less collaborative than women."

I would disagree wholeheartedly. In the professional world, men tend to help one another out, form clubs, combine power. You know, the whole "old-boys network."

Women don't do this with one another, and I believe it comes from seeing the dearth of women in positions of power and leadership, and feeling that since only a few women seem to succeed at the top, it is necessary to outsmart, outwit, and undermine your fellow female colleagues in order to be that one woman who moves on to the next level.

I can't tell you the amount of times I've seen my female coworkers attempt to thwart one another's careers in the most underhanded ways.

We'll never succeed until we can support one another and stop seeing each other as threats.

Posted by: Emma | October 26, 2006 11:14 AM

One request- PLEASE don't keep making statements regarding the differences between men and women (other than the obvious physical differences) as "men are... " and "women are... " I'm not denying that there are many psychological and behavioral differences between the sexes _on average_, but a better phrasing would be "women tend to be... "/"men tend to be... " I'm suggesting this as a left-brained, introverted woman with a job involving physical science and technology- I've heard so many "women are social" and "women don't like math" type statements that just aren't true of me. I also know lots of men who fit the gender norms/stereotypes in some ways but not others. Please remember that there is a lot of diversity _within_ each gender!

Posted by: SheGeek | October 26, 2006 11:15 AM

"Daddy Wars"? Are you kidding? Why does this person get to write a blog every week? His ideas are stupid, uninteresting and unintelligent. I'm out.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 11:15 AM

Men tend to be from Mars.

Posted by: Tender | October 26, 2006 11:26 AM

And it struck me that I've never heard of any kind of similar conversations between older and younger dads.
--------

I heard this a LOT when my son was born. A LOT of older men tried to sit me down and tell me what I need to do to keep the Mrs and the kids in line. I definitely got those talks... and ignored them.

Posted by: Bethesdan | October 26, 2006 11:27 AM

Aren't some of the gender attitudes influenced by the way boys and girls are socialized? Aren't the expectations of boys and girls in this society still very different?

Aren't men still pretty much expected to be some kind of a provider/protector and women are still expected to be good (daughters, wives, and mothers)?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 11:30 AM

OK, as someone who is enjoying watching this conversation, here is what I think I have learned today:

Micro Level: Mommies war against each other (SAH vs WOH - Civil War(?)) and Daddies war against their jobs (fast vs slow track - Guerilla War)

Macro Level: Mommies war against what society says their role should be (Loud, Noisy War) and Daddies war against traditions of their role/time commitment within family (Cold war)

That about cover it?

Brian, when your book hits #1, mention us all by name on the Today show.

Posted by: Mr. Summary Guy | October 26, 2006 11:32 AM

Someone above said this, "Men do tend to be, on average, more competitive and less collaborative than women."

I would disagree wholeheartedly. In the professional world, men tend to help one another out, form clubs, combine power. You know, the whole "old-boys network."
--------

Again, only a woman would view the Old Boy's Network as inclusive of all men. I have been in some traditional companies and they TEND to exclude and compete against women, non-whites, effeminate men, people with different political views, etc. They are the office Country Clubs and are not inclusive. I cannot crack the Old Boy Network at my current job thanks to the one day I came back from lunch with carry-out sushi. Hey, lotsa Navy guys like Sushi from Okinawa or Subic Bay, you know?

Posted by: Bethesdan | October 26, 2006 11:34 AM

I don't know about Daddy wars. It's not other daddies trying to get any given dad to do more childcare and less work. It's usually the mommy (mommy-daddy wars?). I guess there might be conflict between working dads who have a SAH wife vs those with a WOH wife, since dads with SAH wife can get away with working more and getting ahead faster. But again, who's really got something at stake here: not other dads. Only the moms whose careers have to take a backseat to non-helping dads.

I think it would help if companies were required to give the same amount of paid parental leave to men as to women. But because of global competition for jobs, I think that will never happen. In fact i think the time-off problem is going to get worse, not better, for that very reason.

To mano: what, men are incapable of cooking and cleaning? Ok, whatever.

Posted by: m | October 26, 2006 11:38 AM

Why don't SAH people lobby to relabel themselves WAH, or have WOH relabled as SOH? I would think you could deflate the war a bit if it were so defined.

Posted by: ABC | October 26, 2006 11:39 AM

I haven't experienced any more sympathy from female managers than male one when it comes to scheduling time away from the company.

I haven't read all the posts here, but thanks to the Family Leave Act (was it from the Clinton Era?), my company has to at least pay lip service to when my kids need to visit the dentist, etc. Maybe the Family Leave Act defused a potential Daddy Wars, I don't know.

I have experienced women managers who are either childless or single moms. Their attitude isn't very male-friendly to begin with. I think most men know this, it's like we have enough hassles being male, so why make life miserable for each other.

Let's cut to the chase--our society is not prone to look at child-raising as a community project. It remains the "problem" of both parents, especially in the corporate world.

Posted by: Tony in Durham, NC | October 26, 2006 11:43 AM

Summary guy knocked it out, now lets all go get drunk.

Posted by: Whew | October 26, 2006 11:43 AM

I cannot crack the Old Boy Network at my current job thanks to the one day I came back from lunch with carry-out sushi. Hey, lotsa Navy guys like Sushi from Okinawa or Subic Bay, you know?

Yes, it's all about what you are eating.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 11:43 AM

I can't tell you the amount of times I've seen my female coworkers attempt to thwart one another's careers in the most underhanded ways.

This is so true.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 11:45 AM

"My identity isn't challenged if the guy down the street doesn't think I'm particularly good at auto repair, or thinks it's insane that I prefer a Corvette to a Porsche."

Heh-heh. Classic.

This guy is insisting that he has no ego problems vis-a-vis other guys. But which two cars does he choose to "make" his point? The two cars most closely identified with the old saw "His car is an extension of his d**k."

You guys aren't fooling anybody...well, possibly eaach other.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 11:50 AM

I peronally haven't seen any real signs of the daddy wars. That may be that most women share their mommy experiences with other women more often than say men with other dads. As an expecting mom I seek and get earfuls of (some good and some bad) advice (solicited and unsolicited) from other women, but rarely see my DH do the same. He has a more "learn it on the job" attitude. Not to say that this won't change as more dads decide to stay for example at home as full-time SAHD, shifting the male identity from one focused on individualistic achievement in the material sense to one focused on collaborative care-taking of the family.

Posted by: momtobe | October 26, 2006 11:55 AM

Men tend to be from Mars.

Exactly- and very funny.

Aren't some of the gender attitudes influenced by the way boys and girls are socialized? Aren't the expectations of boys and girls in this society still very different?

Aren't men still pretty much expected to be some kind of a provider/protector and women are still expected to be good (daughters, wives, and mothers)?


AFAIK, most (non-obvious) gender differences are some complex mix of some part genetic/hormonal and some part social/environmental, interacting in complex ways that are difficult to disentangle. I wasn't trying to open that can of worms, although the all-or-nothing language is one of the social influences that reinforces stereotypes- one of the reasons it bothers me.

Posted by: SheGeek | October 26, 2006 12:00 PM

Is there any real incentive for more men to become SAHDs?

If some women don't want to do it, why assume that some men will want to stay home?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 12:03 PM

My husband is the SAHD and I get more than a few comments from my co-workers about how they just don't respect a guy that can't support a family. (He dances; he can't). They clearly see him as less of a man.

I agree with the posters that Mom's feel guilty when they work and are made to feel worthless when they don't. When my husband took babies to meetings or rehearsals, it was seen as a wonderful thing. A woman doing that, even in a female dominated field, is viewed as not getting her act together.

There are still double standards and these are what drive the mommy wars.

One last comment: I wonder how many women get promoted after 20 years, just because they've been around so long?

Posted by: wall street mom | October 26, 2006 12:18 PM

Sure, a man is incented to stay home if they have decided to be a single income family, and his income is higher than hers.

A man is also incented to stay home if he has more of a desire to care for the kids than she does, and again, they have decided to be a single income family.

Yeah, there's incentive for some. Not all, but some.

Posted by: Yes | October 26, 2006 12:19 PM

I agree with Emma and others that the Mommy Wars is all about female insecurity. Many women are so insecure about their choices that they interpret someone saying "I'm happy with my choice to work part-time" as "Your choice is SO wrong." It goes beyond being collaborative--many women feel the need to be constantly validated. My experience is that most men aren't wired this way.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 12:21 PM

"This guy is insisting that he has no ego problems vis-a-vis other guys. But which two cars does he choose to "make" his point? The two cars most closely identified with the old saw "His car is an extension of his d**k.""

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar (and if we want to play this game, let's not forget all the women who're so obsessed with physical prowess that they're going the breast implant route).

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 12:23 PM

Woahwoahwoah...how did I get attacked above? All I was doing is complimenting my husband! He handles things like cleaning up vomit and nursing illnessnes, and all those traditional "mommy" roles that I'm no good at and he's incredible at. I handle a lot of educational roles, and cooking and baking roles. Husband cleans up. We trade off. We both have careers we love. We make sacrifices for each other and for our family. If he has to work late, I make sure I work it so I can be home, and vice versa. We do it because we love what we do, we love our family, and we love each other, and we want each other to succeed in all we do. Is it perfect? No. Do our employers sometimes give us a hard time? Yes. But I married a cool guy who is unfazed by what the dudes at the office think about his committment to his family, and that is a key ingredient in achieving a very terrific balance.

Posted by: MSL | October 26, 2006 12:25 PM

"Where, exactly, do you fit in? If he's the best lawyer, the best caretaker, the best housekeeper, etc., what's your role?

"You say that 'the concept of balance is about recognizing each partner's gifts...' Does he recognize your gifts? Do you expect him to?"

Maybe the balance is that here she says he's better at everything and in some other forum he says she's better at everything? :)

"Is that because we think that men can't do it? Maybe sometimes. Is that because we think that even if men can women should (society's influence)? Sometimes. Is it because our standards are different? Perhaps."

Maybe in some other cases it's wanting to be indispensable? Who's more likely to ask for a divorce if he falls out of love with his wife? He who remembers how to cook and clean for himself, or he who's been convinced he's useless at those chores and will live in squalor without marriage?

Posted by: Maria | October 26, 2006 12:27 PM

SheGeek:

people are using verbal shorthand, as is typical in blogs. You'll also note that many posters HAVE taken the time to say "on average" (I certainly have).

Bottom line - men don't have this sort of war going on. I truly do not understand why women do this to each other - but there has to be a reason. And whatever it is, it's something that's not the same for men. I would suggest that women would be well advised to figure out what it is, and fix it. And yes, I'm comfortable saying that it's something that does in fact need to be "fixed" - the internecine battle between moms is pointless and destructive.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 12:28 PM

"If some women don't want to do it, why assume that some men will want to stay home"

I don't think it is that women don't want to do it, but that it is now a choice they can make. The incentive being largely financially. There are many single mothers raising families as well as women in 2 parent household choosing/having to work in order to support their families financially, particularly because the opportunity for career advancement is more of a reality now than in the past. And of course there are women who choose to be SAHM for personal reasons. Therefore, there is the opportunity for more fluidity as to who works and who stays home. But as SheGeek points out, there are some differing societal expectations between the sexes, and that is a battle that I see men as well women increasingly taking part in.

Posted by: momtobe | October 26, 2006 12:38 PM

To Daddy G. I don't think there is much conflict between young and old dads. I also was not aware of a conflict between younger and older moms. As an older mom married to an older dad, we never look down our noses at the younger ones. If any thing we are jealous of their energy.

And as far as there being something suspicious about a man's masculinity because he decided to be a SAHD, it has to be from older men. I know all of my male friends respect the SAHD but would not want to do it because they like work and invested too much into their careers.

Posted by: alex. mom | October 26, 2006 12:41 PM

"And as far as there being something suspicious about a man's masculinity because he decided to be a SAHD, it has to be from older men."

But not from retired granddads ;-)

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 12:43 PM

I disagree with some of the logic used by some of the above posters.

Some of the folks seem to be saying that just because the males aren't fighting each other, that therefore there are no Daddy Wars.

Well, just because we aren't overtly fighting each other does not mean we aren't fighting anything. I think we're fighting against traditions and institutions each and every day.

Posted by: Proud Papa | October 26, 2006 12:55 PM

"Some of the folks seem to be saying that just because the males aren't fighting each other, that therefore there are no Daddy Wars.

Well, just because we aren't overtly fighting each other does not mean we aren't fighting anything. I think we're fighting against traditions and institutions each and every day."

Yeah, and we're fighting ageing, middle-age weight gain, taxes, terrorism and global warming as well. But that misses the point - the whole concept of the "mommy wars" is that women are in conflict with each other over the choices they make as mothers. Dads aren't at war with each other. Whatever other battles we may be fighting, it's not with other dads who've made different choices.

Frankly, I find the mommy wars in general (and this blog in particular) to be a bit like Rugby: totally incomprehensible, but a hoot to watch as the participants beat each other up.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 1:00 PM

*Big Yawn*
Not a dirt clod tossed yet today in the Daddy War debate.

Perhaps somebody has a cute kid story they want to share. I'm going to the gym to pump some iron right now. Maybe something will come to mind that's Post worthy.

He he. get it, "Post" worthy like in the Washington Post and like when you write a comment then....

Never mind. that was stupid! Sorry already!

Posted by: Father of 4 | October 26, 2006 1:10 PM

Men don't tend to confront other men on important things. That's why we get into fights (verbal and physical) on things like who has a better defense the Bears or the Ravens or who deserves the Heisman this year. We expend the hostilities before we get to the personal stuff...

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 1:51 PM

Father of 4

I didn't know you had any iron to pump!

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 1:58 PM

Father of 4

I didn't know you had any iron to pump!

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 1:58 PM

Mommy Wars/Mommy Bores. This petty stuff is why so many women hate to work in the same office with a bunch of other women. Instead of working together for better benefits and work loads, too many women want to p&m about each other. Give me a male dominated field any day!

Posted by: C | October 26, 2006 1:58 PM

Clearly the Bears have a better D than the Ravens. Say otherwise and I'll come over there and knock your block off. ;-)

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 2:02 PM

Father of 4 - where is our cute kid story?

As for the Bears defense they are my fantasy studs. Thank god the bye week is over!

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | October 26, 2006 2:14 PM

Brian, you normally weigh in during the day. Cat got your keyboard?

Posted by: So.... | October 26, 2006 2:41 PM

Bethesdan --
Been there to a certain degree, where not being #1 every single time leads to demotion.

Folks forget that I'm working 50ish hours on site each week when I leave at 4:15 to catch a train to coach a baseball or soccer team for my kids. They see me leaving early... and they don't equate that I came in 2 hours early and worked through lunch to cover for their mistakes.

Daddy Wars? I don't think it is a daddy thing, although I seek to minimize my impact on colleagues who don't have families. They still kvetch that I don't have to stay after 5.

Posted by: Dave R | October 26, 2006 2:55 PM

>>

The price you pay for breeding, bub. Get over it. I really do hate the schedule creep that's resulted in spillovers from the traditional 40 hour week, but when the man says he needs it ASAP, the golden ring goes to the first one across the line.

That's not a daddy war, either. That is what you sacrificed for a family.

Posted by: James Buchanan | October 26, 2006 3:07 PM

Kvetch?????

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 3:07 PM

--------The Daddy Wars are REAL. I was the assistant to our VP and a major Go-To guy for technology solutions. I consistently represented the company at conferences and in client meetings until Christmas 2004. We had a meeting about a new company initiative. I put together an outline of a plan, then took TWO days off for Christmas and when I returned a junior guy had completed the entire project- at least 40 hours of work. Flabbergasted, I asked him, "How did you do it?" He said he got into a fight with his parents and locked himself into his room to work on the project all-day Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and installed and launched it at work the day after Christmas. After that point he immediately started representing the company and became the Go-To technology guy and within 6 months I was forced out as all my perks were switched over to him.

I do not really regret spending Christmas with my family instead of at the office, but THAT is the reality of the Daddy Wars and I'm very resentful of it.-----------


That is what I was responding to

Posted by: James Buchanan | October 26, 2006 3:08 PM

Agree with the Prez. That isn't a good Daddy war story. More like "I have relatives" wars. Or maybe Christmas wars. If you had a fight with your kids, you might have done the preso.

Posted by: John C. Breckinridge | October 26, 2006 3:18 PM

Got the endorphins going..., and the IQ lowered. Good workout, I perspired, I mean I broke a sweat.

The Baby Monitor & the Onesie.

So there I was. My daughter was going to have her first birthday. She was taking a nap downstairs as the guests arrived.

For you childless people, the 1st birthday party of your first child, consists of inviting the Mommies of little babies and toddlers of any of your friend who attended your wedding or the baptism of your little angel. Basically they sit in the living room, whip out the nipple and nurse their protegies as they rehash their horror stories in the maternity ward. Yes, they breast fed their babies right in front of me, and nobody gave it a second thought.

Well anyway, we had the baby monitor going, and I heard my daughter waking up. To impress upon my dedication as a loving father to all these ladies, I volunteered to generously go downstairs and bring back the birthday girl.

And so I did. When I reached the crib, it stunk. Darn! I guess I volunteered to do a diaper change too, which I didn't expect. But I did.

Funny thing about a baby monitor is that when the receiver is in the room, it's obvious that there is a baby monitor in the room. The opposite about the transmitter. It doesn't make any noise, and I have a way of not really noticing things that don't make any noise.

The diaper change went smoothly so to speak, but I ran into a little problem with the onesie. It was inside out, and had the leg pulled through the arm hole or something. I couldn't figure it out. The baby was getting a little restless too, so I had to restrain her from falling off the changing tabl with one arm while trying to figure out the stupid onsie.

I'm not the most perfect sailor the world has ever seen, but when I get frustrated, I have a way of talking to myself using some of those not so pretty words...

And my daughter was getting pretty fussy and started to cry...

And I was getting a little louder with my verbage...

And the baby monitor (transmitter), got kicked off the changing table. DONK! BUMP!Crash! BOOM! WHAAAAA! I could hear it from the upstairs receiver. Yes, it was live. "Oh Sh*T!"

Footsteps came running down the stairs.

"Just what the hell is going on in here!!!"

"Shhhhhhhhh! The baby monitor", I whispered.

Ho, well. Great entertainment for all the guests to start out a party.

Posted by: Father of 4 | October 26, 2006 3:25 PM

Why should dads want to stay home? I don't get why ANYONE wants to be out ot their house and away from the kids 10 hours a day! I have to say that since my kids are both in school all day that it is much easier for me to achieve balance! I work part time, but just while the kids are in school. I see them off and welcome them home, plus am able to take care of the castle, gather up my bits and pieces, see my friends without being interrupted by our children, etc. This doesn't mean that I am just lazying about all the time, going to the spa and getting my nails done (I am not knocking it, just saying it is not me). I do a lot of work. In the evening there is no downtime, which is fine. I take mine at other times of the day (nap one day, see a friend another, get my hair cut alone, watch a movie unsuitable for children while ironing.).

As far as any war going on, I just haven't seen one, unless it is on the beltway. From the looks of it, most of the parents I meet are just trying to do their best in an imperfect world.
This is a funny summary of a bit of "Defending the Caveman", a stand-up, one man comedy/therapy show. It is very true in my corner of the universe, and knowing that my husband has a need to negotiate makes it easier for me to deal with him. Don't pick on my word choice, cause you don't know him, and that word is, at times, perfect.
The chip bowl is empty," he says, begging the question, "Who will refill it?" Quite observant of reality, the show goes on to explain that men, as negotiators, will claim their activities and assets to avoid having to retreat from watching the big game. Why should the guy who bought the chips, or who provided the couch they sit on, have to refill the bowl?
On the other hand, women, the play explains, are cooperators and will all journey to refill the bowl together-and probably take a group detour into the restroom-as all flocks of women do."

If you are married, you should try to see this show.

Posted by: to 12:03 | October 26, 2006 3:48 PM

Here's my take on it.

No, there aren't Daddy Wars because generally except for the area of discipline, if a child is perceived as having problems or being different, it's largely considered the mother's fault. And that seems to be the heart of the Mommy Wars - that mommy choices wreck the kids.

(I am not saying this right, but this is my perception on where the criticisms come from.)

There is definitely a conflict between the needs of the corporation (cheapest labour possible and most productivity possible) and the needs of the worker (a reasonable amount of work for a reasonable wage). But this is not new. Corporations have been eroding the 40-hour workweek that unionists fought hard and long for.

Posted by: Shandra | October 26, 2006 4:33 PM

Sorry to be so late to the party and by now, probably no one will read this, but anyways...

I don't really believe there is a "Daddy War" as more of a Daddy's Civil Rights movement.

I think one of the biggest impediments to having more invested dads is the fact that society tends to demand a higher contribution from dads and yet diminish their contributions. Although the societal values are changing, dads are valued more as wage-earners than they are as care providers. As we've seen from some of the comments today, although they are shrinking there are still pockets of the world where men are viewed as inferior for being contributing child care providers instead of goal and career oriented employees.

It is also important to note that in the vast majority of the US, in the cases of divorce or custody, mothers are more often awarded primary custody while granting fathers visitation rights. Even in cases where the mother is deemed unfit, the mother is still more likely to be granted full custody rights. There are many cases of women with substance abuse issues, money management issues, and criminal histories being granted custody over qualified fathers. The court system is heavily gender-biased in custody cases.

Dr. Warren Farrell, has written several books on the topic of getting fathers more invested in child rearing. One that I particularly like is "Father and Child Reunion." He says that just as women's fight for equal rights in the workplace is one of the key battles of the latter half of the twentieth centery, men's fight for equal rights in the home is the key battle of the first half of the twenty-first century.

Providing men more rights as a parent whether in a one-parent, two-parent, separated, divorced scenario will only help to strengthen their parenting commitment. That is the "battle" that I see, much more than a competitive one between styles of parenting.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | October 26, 2006 5:12 PM

I think Father of 4 is a fraud. If he's blind, how can he know when someone whips out a tit and breastfeeds in front of him, and how can he change a diaper if he's blind. The graphics here make me want to urp -- big time.

My father worked the night shift and slept all day, so the ONLY time we saw him was at dinner and he was grouchy because he just got up. He left my mother home at night with 4 kids she hated and no telephone or car. But he was a wonderful, hard-working dad and I loved him very much. He was a medic during WWII; grew up on a farm with 9 siblings during the Depression. You panty-waist affluent yuppies haven't a clue about 'hardship.' Give me a break. He was a saint for putting up with my mother and she hasn't said a good word about him since he died.

Posted by: Childless by Choice | October 26, 2006 7:16 PM

childless by choice, is grouchiness genetic? Breast feeding can be heard, and diapers can be changed in the dark. Go crawl back under your rock.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 7:48 PM

I think Father of 4 is a fraud. If he's blind, how can he know when someone whips out a tit and breastfeeds in front of him, and how can he change a diaper if he's blind. The graphics here make me want to urp -- big time.

You are such a nasty person. Isn't there a nasty person blog somewhere? I think you are a fraud because there is no way in hell that anyone could want to cheat on his wife with someone like you!
If your dad was so great why did he let your mom abuse you and let you grow up into a freak. Go get some help, please.


Posted by: go away | October 26, 2006 8:03 PM

childless by Choice, I find you a very intresting personality. for one thing, you bring up real life experiences in this blog worth furthering discussion. You also have an element of suffering to your writings which others have a difficult time accepting, and they lash out at you with judgements on a previous post where you revealed yourself in a manner that is considered by many, poor taste. Even so, I can't remember that you have ever, ever, mentioned an individual on this board that you critasised in a negative conatation specifically singled out by poster name. for this reason, I've always thought of you as a generally polite girl behind your posting name, dispite of the nature of your post.

Then this evening, you you revealed to me that you think I'm a fraud, and back up your disbelief with legitimate observations to debunk my claim of blindness.

Just like you, and many, I have a library of painfull childhood memmories. It is with these experiences of anguish and pain that I attribute my affection for music composed in a minor key. If you play piano, you know what I'm talking about. And one of my favorite pieces, simple as it is, is Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. When practised and rehearsed to perfection it will be played so passionately that most pianist will close their eyes during the performance. I know this because I used to play the piano myself back in the day.

Let me tell you, although I suspect you know already, that learning to play beethoven on piano with your eyes closed takes at least 100 times the dexterity and practice than changing a diaper in the dark. Besides, if I mess a note or 2, that's what baby wipes and running water are for.

May your gift, love and talent for playing piano eventually reach the ears of one that has suffered the loss of their eyes. I can firmly assert you that They will appreciate you for that

Posted by: Father of 4 | October 26, 2006 9:41 PM

Father of 4,

I think that if she would just stop being so abrasive and stop using words like spawn, fraud, etc, etc, and just post what she has to say about her life and how she grew up I think it would be different for her on the blog. I even think it's fine if someone was nasty to her and she got nasty back, but it is really upsetting when she calls someone like you a fraud. It's just not nice, which in turn makes me have very little empathy for her.

Posted by: scarry | October 27, 2006 7:15 AM

The price you pay for breeding, bub. Get over it. I really do hate the schedule creep that's resulted in spillovers from the traditional 40 hour week, but when the man says he needs it ASAP, the golden ring goes to the first one across the line.

That's not a daddy war, either. That is what you sacrificed for a family.
-------

Read about the Mommy Wars and half of it talked about Family-Friendly workplaces.

Posted by: Bethesdan | October 27, 2006 10:17 AM

I just wanted to add a comment from the point of view of the civilian victims of the war: children. 35+ years ago, my dad worked shifts, so he was the only dad around for summers at the community pool, etc. THIS WAS GREAT. The kids in my family felt special...and we knew we were loved by both parents.

I agree that the war seems to stem from "what mommy's do" is viewed as affecting the kids either positively or negatively, and dadddies get more of a free ride in this area.

Posted by: jersky | October 27, 2006 4:47 PM

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