• Dadwagon on Facebook
  • Dadwagon on Twitter
  • Dadwagon RSS feed

More News: Dads Lie

June 18th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  2 Comments

We men say we spend as much time as our partners do on childcare. And we are full of it, say the data. When you actually track how much childcare dads and moms do, the mothers are still shouldering more of the burden.

The basic finding of this report wasn’t much of a surprise to me. We gents start out doing less, from the labor room on into breastfeeding and beyond; that sets up a pattern where moms do more. I’m not proud of this, but if my wife and I did a minute-by-minute inventory of childcare work around the house, I’d come up well short of 50 percent. (Never mind that it certainly feels like I’m on duty every moment.) I work into the evening at least two nights a week, on a schedule that’s not under my control; if those nights go really late, as they sometimes do, my wife will often take the following early-morning shift, too, so I can recover a little lost sleep.

No, the interesting detail to me was that a couple of generations ago, fathers routinely underestimated their time spent raising kids—the opposite of what they do today. Why? Because it used to be stigmatized (“woman’s work” is the phrase that got thrown around). That fascinates me: Not just that mothers used to do the lion’s share of the work but that a dad who changed a diaper was considered a chump. Can you imagine? It sounds as remote as the sixteenth century, at least viewed from our apartment. Yet it was probably true of many of my parents’ contemporaries and friends.

It doesn’t take long to erase even entrenched cultural stigmas anymore. Consider this: When my grandfather saw my kid brother write for the first time, he reacted with agitation, as if he’d seen something dangerous. Why? Because my brother was writing with his left hand. “The devil,” he said. Never mind that in many aspects my Papou was a modern person, one who shopped at Macy’s and liked a glass of Southern Comfort now and then. The way he was raised had determined everything, and he’d been born on a Greek island in 1900. Whereas in our world, four of the past five presidents of the United States have been left-handed. Three decades—one generation—and it’s as remote as Mars.


  1. Katherine says:

    June 23rd, 2010at 3:12 pm(#)

    I’m glad you liked that detail about macho dads of the 80s – it jumped right out at me in the reporting I did for that Slate article. I agree 100% that it’s surprising to see how quickly cultural stereotypes change. I’m looking forward to seeing what the world looks like when our children are running it. (fingers firmly crossed)


    What Happened on the Wagon? | DADWAGON

Leave a Response


Recent Comments

  • Dee: As one of the impressed moms there last night, and also because my kid ate 3 bowls of that bolognese, thanks for...
  • Drew Wallner via Facebook: I’m totally making this when we get back from holiday travel, I even just got a...
  • Matt: Whoops! Just put that back in. The recipe editor has been fired.
  • Ed Lilly: Looks great – thanks for posting! One question – you did not specify putting the meat back into...
  • Maks: I’m against baby yoga for sure, but want to say something regarding that author is a little wild about...

DadWagon Reads!


Do you show this to your kids?

AP Images

An unnamed gunman gestures after shooting the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. Turkish police shot and killed the gunman, Turkish station NTV reported. Russia's ambassador to Turkey has died after being shot in Ankara, according to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman. #APPhoto by Burhan Ozbilici

Story developing: http://apne.ws/2hRY0rH

Dec 19th, 2016 7:32pm • No Comments

"They watch their mothers and fathers overdose and die on the bathroom floor. They live without electricity, food or heat when their parents can’t pay the bills. They stop going to school, and learn to steal and forage to meet their basic needs."

The Children of the Opioid Crisis


Left behind by addict parents, tens of thousands of youngsters flood the nation’s foster-care system; grandparents become moms and dads again

Dec 16th, 2016 2:11pm • No Comments

Don't forget the gift receipt(s)!

A Gift for Every Type of Dad (That You Can Buy on Amazon)


Including cricket-flour protein bars, ice-cold beer chillers, and an air fryer that uses hardly any oil.

Dec 9th, 2016 3:27pm • No Comments

As Ryu Spaeth pointed out, the only thing worse than "Papa" is the pronunciation "paPA." PERISH THE THOUGHT.


“I just think ‘dad’ and ‘mom’ are very Saved by the Bell-ish,” said Will Grose, 36, a Brooklyn father of three boys under the age of 5.

Nov 30th, 2016 5:20pm • 1 Comment