Fatherhood

Carly Ozarowski

While reading this article Rehal’s article about paternity leave it immediately reminded me of when my mom was a substitute teacher for a father whom just had a child. My mom was subbing in a classroom for approximately 6 weeks, longer then most men are able to do- all my school would give the father. I found this completely unfair considering other new mother’s were given longer periods of time (while it ranged from what was paid and unpaid). There is just a huge discrepancy in how men are expected to be after their child is born and how mothers should act. Women are scrutinized if they go back to work too soon, while men are scrutinized for taking too much time off. Something I found very interesting at the beginning of the article was that some men actually strengthen their work ties after becoming fathers. This actually makes sense to me in a disturbing way. Men, by societal norms are expected to financially care for their family; after a family has as child that is another mouth to feed and financially be responsible for, there is makes sense they may feel a pressure to make more money or work more.

Another aspect of this article I found interesting was that there is honestly no reason for women to be considered the caretakers and for men to be seen as the breadwinners. The articles talks about men who are reluctant/forced to be the children’s primary caretaker, do so at the same capacity and success as women. These parents are really in a bind about what they can do. They can take leave to raise their child in the early months of their life, but in doing so they are not getting paid fully (around 55%). For most people this income decrease is not an option and they feel obligated financially to return to work sooner.

One of the most striking excerpts from the reading was Mark’s quote on page 119. In this passage Mark explains he would not have take two weeks off from work, even if everyone else did it. He felt that he was unneeded and could be needed more at work. This is just another example/representation of how fathers feel sometimes- or maybe even more of a representation of how mothers are expected to act. Mark felt that he was not needed at home, leaving me to make the assumption that his daughters mother was taking care of the child and seemingly did not give the father a chance to help. They may have felt that, since she as the mother she would have that “motherly instinct” or maybe she did not trust her husband enough with the

Townsend’s article had many similar points to Rehal’s article. When first beginning this article, something that I found interesting was the idea that mother’s income is denoted for luxuries or to get them out of the house, and that there work is lesser than the mans work. Even thought the mother may not work as many hours that does not mean her work is lesser or that she is not working even harder when she is at home taking care of the children. I also found it interesting that many men agreed it was “natural” for the mother to watch the children and for them to leave the house to work. As Rehal’s article states no gender is better or more qualified to care for children.

In terms of a representation of fatherhood in the media, I choose Carrie Underwood’s song “All-American Girl”. The beginning of this song discusses a father’s initial want for a son that could go fishing with him and play football. She goes on to talk about how the father becomes so pleased to have his daughter- much like our classroom discussion about fathers calling their daughters princesses.

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6 thoughts on “Fatherhood

  1. Jihmmy N. Sanchez

    I feel like a lot of men feel the same way as Mark does in his quote where he see’s it unnecessary for him to take time off of work if he is not going to be much help to the parenting of his child. I think this mindset is very common because of what you mentioned in your post as well how normalized it has become for the mother to be the caretaker of the parent. If the these gendered roles ceased to exists and both men and women were equally encouraged to take time off of work to provide care for their newborn that mindset would disappear. unfortunately it hasn’t, this mindset also stems from the fact that there is virtually little to no support for fathers who want to take paternity leave like there is in other countries where fathers are given up to 7 weeks off of work at 70% of their salary. If this ever changes it would only take one brave soul to be the first one to take advantage of paternity leave and start a new trend.

  2. Gina Pol

    I think that many of the points that were made by Townsend were very problematic and sad that they even existed. One of them was how women’s work was always devalued, which gives off the idea that women are inferior since their work is not comparable to men. Many of the men from the study believed that their wive’s earnings were just “supplemental” and that they were the primary breadwinner in the family. This shows how men did not value the work that their wives did and felt that it was almost unnecessary. Another finding that I found very disturbing was when men stated that due to their employment, “they provided children with a mother who was at home for them and could be close to them” (253). By making this statement, they were essentially saying that solely based of their decisions, their wives now had the opportunity to be mothers, which would not have been possible if they were unemployed.

  3. I’m beginning to think of age as a factor of masculinity. I know that men want children, specifically boys, and that men feel a need to work instead of being active parent figures. But is the after-pregnancy period for men a time in their ages when they feel like they need to become more masculine? Or do men feel like they need to work harder because their wife is unable to work because she is solely taking care of the family? This is a weird transition time for men and I think they are under a lot of pressure from idealized images of masculinity to replace focus on their wives and children with focus on work.

    Patrick Gallagher Landes

  4. Zoe Halpert

    I found it pretty entertaining in Rehel’s articles that men expected to be able to have some extra free time when they were on paternity leave. Of course, they were sorely mistaken. When men stay home they become more aware of the responsibilities and intensive labor required for childcare, particularly for newborns. I suppose because so much of childcare is “invisible” labor, when men stay home is becomes more visible and they take on more responsibility.

  5. Gracie Hall

    Carly, I thought it was interesting that you stated that there was no reason for women to be considered the caretakers and for men to be seen as the breadwinners. I would disagree because of current structures in our systems (not because I think that women inherently can’t be breadwinners, or father’s caretakers!) Firstly, I think our gendered wage gap has a lot to do with it. Rehel notes on page 112 that, “the partner who brings the most resources to the relationship, often in terms of income, has the most power, enabling that partner to opt out of unpaid labor”. And since, women in general are paid less then men and are tracked into lower paying fields, they generally are not the ones with the “power” to opt out of care taking.

  6. Karen Cardona,
    Invisible work is such a huge problem , may house wives work their butts off at home to keep everything clean and ready for many of the times not ever receive a ‘thank you’. House wives and house labor are never questioned because it has gotten so normalized to a point in which women don’t know how to cook are always look down upon . People often ask me , “do you cook?” i tend to respond with a “No , i don’t really know how to” People FREAK OUT! they ask how i am i ever going to find a husband and once i do how will i keep him if i don’t know how to cook. This is shocking to me , my father cooks and so does my mother. They have a system in which they split what meals they cook and who does what. They split home chores and who takes my brother to swim practice on what days. I want to learn how to cook to survive not to be able to “keep a man”

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