Sunday, June 21, 2009

Daddy on Board Daddy on board, by Katharine Mieszkowsk:

Today's fathers spend more time with their children than ever. One of them talks about why that's a good thing

As a father, Jeremy Adam Smith has played many roles. The 39-year-old editor and writer from San Francisco has been a working dad with a stay-at-home wife, a stay-at-home dad with a working wife, and half of a two-income couple. The kicker: His son, Liko, is just 4 years old.

In his new book, "The Daddy Shift: How Stay-at-Home Dads, Breadwinning Moms and Shared Parenting Are Transforming the American Family," Smith argues that fatherhood in America is changing as it comes to encompass taking care of kids, as well as providing for them. And as the recession throws so many men out of work, he contends that fluid family arrangements like his own are becoming more common.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are just 159,000 stay-at-home dads in the country, but Smith suggests that those numbers undercount many fathers, including him, who have served as their children's primary caregivers by day and continued working part-time at night or in the early morning.

In his book, Smith profiles a number of "reverse-traditional families," in which mom's at the office while dad's on diaper and playground duty. Yet, Smith argues that stay-at-home dads are just the most extreme form of a broader trend in which fathers, even those with full-time, BlackBerry-tethered jobs, are getting much more involved in their kids' lives. 

Julie Graves Krishnaswami

Current Affairs, Parenthood | Permalink

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