For women to make it to the top of their careers, Anne-Marie Slaughter says that they need a Stay-At-Home-Dad or at least a husband with a flexible job. And women need to trust men to do a good job.
It’s tough managing two high-powered careers, plus properly caring for the off spring and keeping the house from falling down. We all know that. The solutions are:
A) Hire a lot of people to help out. Downside — Therapy for the children who have no relationship with either parent.
B) Mom stays home. Downside — Mom out of the workforce. Sometimes a little bitter. Financial dependence.
Slaughter suggests option C) Dad stays home. Magically, no downside.
Meh. Stay at home dads have the same issues as stay at home moms, but more so. They are even more isolated. Not that I’m discouraging men from staying at home to mind the brood. It’s noble work. But I think we have to honest about the job.
Perhaps Slaughter wasn’t really exploring the problems of life as a stay at home dad, because she was responding to a mother’s day essay by Judith Shulevitz, which complained about women being in charge of “The List.” Slaughter says her husband is in charge of “The List,” not her. He and the housekeeper are raising the kids and keeping the house from falling down. Women should be more like her, and walk away from the tyranny of the “The List.”
Any essay with a “people should be more like me” theme bugs the crap out of me.
I’m clearly in charge of “The God-damned List” in this house, but we’ve been playing with technology to spread the responsibility. Steve, Jonah, and I share a common calendar on iCal. I also print out a copy of the calendar for the week and tape it to the fridge. I try not to micromanage Steve when he hires the gutter cleaning service or reserves the hotel for Cleveland for next week. But it’s me who shows up for the teacher meetings, who drives Ian to drum lessons, who finds an SAT program for Jonah. Steve has a job; he can’t do that stuff.
Even with our efforts at communal responsibility for the house/kids, one person has to be in charge of “The List.” It doesn’t have to be a woman; either parent will do. Still, house and kid management require time.