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March 25, 2007

Reinforcements in the "Mommy Wars"

by Nicholas Beaudrot of Electoral Math

I was happy to see E.J. Graff's lengthy call to action on the "care crisis" in modern America, where so many families have two working parents, frequently divorced, who want to be good mothers and fathers and need to balance a full time career with the need and desire to spend time with their kids. But I hope that this issue doesn't end up pigeon-holed as a "women's issue" [if it were up to me, we wouldn't pigeon hole "women's issues" at all—family planning issues affect men to, and while anatomy-specific health care issues don't have a direct effect on men, the more attenton to health care, the better].

In an era with so many two-income households, work and family balance is a parents' issue. The focus on welfare and "the politics of children" in the '80s and '90s gave our government two decades to focus on the role of motherhood (and child support payments) in our society, but we haven't spent the sane effort on fatherhood. The Family and Medical Leave Act, if memory serves me, was sold primarily as a way to help mothers balance work and child care; the fact that fathers could be present during the first weeks of their child's life was more of an afterthought. We're not in the "Leave It to Beaver" era anymore; the cultural norms of fatherhood encourage today's dad to take a more active role in child-rearing than in previous generations, and we ought to have policies that reflect that.

A few politicians have made small moves to make fatherly responsibilities & opportunities as a political issue. John Edwards poverty proposals include expanding welfare reform to give fathers the same incentives to find work and raise their children right; on the stump he mentions the importance of fatherhood in breaking the cycle of poverty. Al Gore mentioned a similar propsal in 2000. And Evan Bayh (D-IN) has done some real legwork on this issue, pushing funding various fatherhood related pilot programs through the welfare reform bills.

Though, we may need an informational campaign featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger to convince dads that household chores are manly.
 

March 25, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

Great site.

I noticed the title of your blog-

So what do you think explains the failure of the mainstream media to cover the purge scandal for so long, and so many other scandals? Do you think somebody just set up newspaper editors to cheat on their wives, and threatened to tell if the editors wouldn’t play ball when they come back some day and ask for something?

It wouldn’t be that hard to do, when you think about it. People wouldn’t talk about it.

Posted by: Swan | Mar 25, 2007 7:15:24 PM

Best parenting advice recently posted on the net came from James Wolcott at Vanity Fair.

To understand the reference in full, read Tim Noah's Slate piece on the myriad of delays in the publication of Jonah Goldberg's latest attempt to join Dinesh D'Souza and Ann Coulter.

Entitled "Advice Department," Wolcott posted a Goldberg question/item, which had appeared on NRO at 1:09 p.m. March 24, and then responded on VF at 4:10 p.m. March 24:

"Parenting Bleg [Jonah Goldberg]
Okay, so my four year old daughter desperately wants me to do more magic tricks. All I can really do for her are variations of "Hey, I found a quarter in your ear" stuff. And even then, the prestidigitation isn't really up to snuff. If she were five, she'd be on to me. So, I need really simple, stupid in fact, magic tricks that can be done with little skill, that will impress a four year-old. Any suggestions?"

WOLCOTT: "Perhaps you could pull a completed manuscript out of your ass and watch those little eyes light up with wonder."

Posted by: Mark | Mar 25, 2007 9:07:57 PM

I would be so big on compliments to Edwards. You have to realize that he had the time over the past 2 years to come up with proposals.
The other candidates do have to work and as such, are having to address a host of issues day to day.
I would rather they take time to come up with a good proposal than a sloppy slap dash one due to pressure to have to have something NOW.
I do think it's good you like the plan but, to dismiss the others is not fair.

Posted by: vwcat | Mar 25, 2007 9:08:00 PM

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Posted by: judy | Sep 27, 2007 3:19:13 AM

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