Roughly one to two days a month during the school year children are off school for some reason. Closures for things like teacher work days, holidays, and elections results in shifting schedules and work conflicts. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics report for 2015 the majority of families had both parents as members of the work force. This results in a large number of parents who need to take off work in order to ensure their children are safe and cared for.
Many parents find work around options such as grandparents, other stay at home parents, or pay money for temporary daycare/aftercare options but the rest find themselves in the position where someone has to stay home for the day.
As a Stay at Home Dad, on a normal school day I am typically the only man at story times, at playgrounds, and even at the grocery store. This is not a big surprise since as a culture Moms have been the primary care taker. What surprises me most is on these days when schools are closed this one man world doesn’t change. I have two daughters one school age and one preschool age. On these off days I almost always get out away from the house so that the day goes smoothly and the kids don’t destroy each other. Every place I go whether it is a story time at the library, Bouncy Place, or playground the scene is always the same. Me and lots and lots of Moms. Perhaps one other father may be present but it is in no way representative of division of labor in a family unit.
SO,,,,,,, Where are all the Dads. While there may be a few who stayed home with the kids and just stayed at home, I am certain that most are at work and the Mother is at home with the kids.
This may be the social norm but is it right? Should it be this way? If a women takes off an additional week or two a year to provide child care then there are lots of potential career problems associated with this. For one, if women are always “Taking Off” it could discourage employers from hiring them or negatively impact performance reviews. Two, time away from the office is time away from networking, meetings, and work in general. All of these are hurdles that have to be overcome for a women to have a successful career. Is it fair to the female parent?
Another side of the question is why don’t men take off and what would be the effect if they did? If a man went to his boss and said he needed to take the day off because his child was home from school how would it be perceived? Is it unmanly? Is the man “Whipped”? Would taking off frequently impact performance reviews? Would this be at the same or greater level than for the female counter part?
There is a 3 hour early dismissal this Friday will you take the time off or will you expect the child’s mother to do it?