Daddy Wars

The Atlantic magazine left a key group out of its discussion about fatherhood.

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In Sunday’s paper, The New York Times reported on a rising phenomenon: Powerful female financial executives who are abetted by husbands willing to “stay at home” and be the primary caretakers of the couples’ children. “These bankers make up a small but rapidly expanding group, benefiting from what they call a direct link between their ability to achieve and their husbands’ willingness to handle domestic duties,” report Jodi Kantor and Jessica Silver-Greenberg.

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“The only luxury is time,” Kanye West told Jimmy Kimmel the other night, “the time you spend with your family.” A new Pew Research Center report shows that most American parents agree with ‘Ye, who is, perhaps tellingly, a new father.

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A front-page news article in today’s New York Times on a representative working mother is the first, we are promised, in the “Balancing Act” series, which “will look at the ways working mothers from varied backgrounds are balancing careers and family responsibilities.” I fear for the rest of the series.

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Recently, I argued that it was time for a “Daddy Wars” to complement the wide-ranging debate among women about how to be working parents. I called for us to confront the cultural expectation that fathers be career-oriented, and to demand that men include themselves in a conversation that heretofore has been dominated by women. And this conversation, I said, should involve both economic and policy issues like paternity leave and social issues like what kind of dads we expect fathers to be.

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