working-dad.jpgI’ve decided to dub 2013 “The Year of the Working Dad” because I’m sick of all the focus on working mothers.

Seriously, men have children too and it’s about time we started accepting this fact as a society. Just yesterday a story appeared in the Wall Street Journal about how women now make up one-third of all the doctors and lawyers in the country, and the reporter saw it fit to ask a female attorney about her plans to raise a family.

A Miami based lawyer, Lindsey Lazopoulos, the article states,

graduated from the University of Miami School of Law last year and now is a commercial litigator. Two partners in the Florida firm where she works are mothers raising children, she said. Ms. Lazopoulos said she isn’t focusing on raising a family yet. “For me, and for other women we’re kind of just trying to get a start on our careers and focus on that,” she said.

What about the guys!? I may be going out on a limb here, but I’m thinking Josh Mitchell, the reporter who wrote the story, would not have asked any male lawyers such questions.

Of course not. We don’t think about men as working dads, as a recent blog post in the New York Times written by a working dad pointed out.

Ken Gordon wrote:

I’m a dad — two children, 9 and 7 — and I work. Hard. I fall out of bed at about 5 a.m. and stumble back there at about 10 p.m., and it seems like I haven’t caught my breath or cleared my to-do lists since my first child was born on July 22, 2002.

Yet in spite of all this unremitting labor, no one, not a single person, has ever called me a “working dad.” I’ve never called myself this.

The question on the docket is, “Why not?”

Great question!

If you have an answer I’d love to hear it. But forget about the “men-don’t-chip-in-when-it-comes-to-family” bologna.

Recent research done by the think tank I work for Families and Work Institute found that men are facing escalating pressure when it comes to work-life issues, and one of our researchers Ken Matos was recently on NPR’s Tell Me More program with Gordon discussing this new reality.

Matos said:

I want to really point out, that when we say work-life conflict has grown for men, it isn’t that they have more work or life responsibilities. It’s that they’re having a harder time figuring out how to fit the two together. Part of it is a lack of support from the people around them in recognizing that they have these responsibilities. And some of it is figuring out how to put the things together. I think women have had a really strong conversation over the years on trying to figure out some of these solutions and men are just now starting to have those conversations.

(The Institute’s report on this trend is titled “The New Male Mystique” and can be downloaded here.)

Indeed, we need to talk less about women’s abilities to have careers and a family and focus more on men for a change.

It’s going to be The Year of the Working Dad after all.

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