Monday, January 12, 2009

Are all stay-at-home Dads "lost"?

A story in yesterday's New York Times talks about the "difficulties" faced by very wealthy Wall Streeters who have lost their jobs and can't find another $800,000-a-year job. It's a readjustment, they say.

The story focuses on a couple in affluent Darien, Connecticut, Scott and Tracey Berry, who talk about how they are adapting to the lost income. She's gone back to work, he tabulates spending receipts each week and puts on an Oxford shirt to sit in front of his home computer and look for work.

Except for a passing mention of waking the kids up to get ready for school and saving for college, the article doesn't discuss how Scott Berry's job loss and Tracey's return to work affect their parenting.

But the headline is interesting. It's not "Couples Cope with Financial Meltdown," or any such phrase focusing on the marriage and finances. Rather, it's this: "Daddy's Home, and a Bit Lost."

The headline writer was apparently eager to play on the cliche of the hapless, unemployed dad, even though that was not in the story--not even hinted at. The story was about Berry as a husband. And he didn't seem particularly lost.

But the myth persists. We all know that a stay-at-home father must be "lost" or confused or inadequate. Don't we?


  1. Good post and you're right, it's sexist. Your next book sounds fascinating! Let me know if you want to get in touch with Schuyler's Monster blogger, I've struck up a friendship with him.


  2. I had visceral response to that article Paul and will write about it if I can today! I agree with you on all fronts. Though I related to aspects, as my own husband just got laidoff, the article was full of such class-bound cluelessness, it made me want to seriously give this couple a smackdown. Even as my heart went out to them. If SAHD is a dope, Wife is a frivolous shopoholic, so stereotypes at play all around. Needless to say, mixed reactions to the piece.