Another voice in the feminist debate: what about the feelings of fathers who work?
Sarah Gilbert and others here at blogging baby have written quite a bit about the dilemma that motherhood presents working women these days. It has been so impressive to see the level of wisdom so many mom bloggers have brought to the question of this clash between the feminist ideal and the "traditional" role of motherhood. But what happens when men no longer want to follow traditional roles either?
With all the talk about SAHMs and SAHDs and moms who work, no one is really talking about the feelings of the "go to work dad," or the GTWD that Brian at Miles, etc. recently identified, bringing to light an interesting wrinkle in this whole debate. In an era when many professional, highly-educated women are choosing to stay home to care for their children, where do the feelings of feminist men playing the "traditional role" of breadwinner fit in? Part of the problem, notes Brian (a lawyer who works long hours), is that "We GTWD's aren't really supposed to have a voice in this parenting thing - not a pay-some-attention-to-me voice, anyway." What Brian's post speaks to is the pain that GTWD's feel at not being there for all those important moments of their children's lives, and the desire as "sensitive" men to not abdicate their heartfelt parenting responsibilities just to bring home money. Brian notes that GTWD's don't necessarily deserve any sympathy, but I think it should be time that society recognizes that for some men, going to work is a sacrifice they would rather not make. I know that's how it is for me. My wife touched on it after reading Brian's post, as did Mo-Wo and Andiamo Mama. Another blogger has recently started a whole blog just for fathers who work called working day dad.
I don't see any reason for SAHM's or anyone else to get offended by GTWD's voicing their anxieties and pain about not getting enough time with their children. This thing of ours is tough for everyone and it's not often you run across anyone who is truly happy with the way it works out. Rather than concerning ourselves with who has the right to complain the most, perhaps we could start discussing reasonable solutions---a third path---to make everyone happier with their careers and their access to their kids, and take a step back and realize it's really a luxury to be concerned about such things.