1. First of all, no one calls him a “working dad.”
You just call him by his name. Maybe you call him a worker. Maybe you call him a dad. But you definitely don’t call him a working dad. This is in sharp contrast between the endless labeling and debates between moms that choose to stay home with the kids or ones that are in the workforce.
2. “Don’t you miss your kids when you go to work?”
Fact: Dads are just as likely as moms to say that they see being a parent as extremely important to their identity. Yet the assumption is that only moms do. The truth is, ideals about fatherhood are rapidly changing.
3. “My spouse could never do what you do.”
Fact: The Motherhood Penalty or the tendency to bring assumptions about the role of women and mothers into the workplace not only disadvantage working mothers, it also effects women who have never had kids.
4. “I just don’t know how you do it all.”
Fact: Fathers spend on average of 9 hours a week on household chores up from 4 hours in 1965. Mothers spend an average of 18 hours.
5. “Your kids are only little once. Don’t you feel guilty about working so much?”
Fact: Even though moms are the ones who usually get this kind of question, 48% of fathers feel that they don’t spend enough time with their children.
6. “If you cut back on your spending, you could stay home with your kids.”
Fact: 67% of people feel that having two parents who work helps families survive financially. The very question of staying at home with kids comes from privilege that a lot of working women do not have.
7. “You don’t need to make as much money since you have your spouse’s income.”
Another variation on this is: “Why do you need to work? Your spouse is so successful.”
Fact: Working mothers make 71 cents to every dollar that a working father makes. This is comparing full-time salaries and does not account for mothers who choose to work part-time. This is far worse for women of color with African American mothers making just 51 cents and Latina mothers making 46 cents. Only 27% of couples with children rely on only the father working. This is down from 47% in 1970.
Not to mention that as many as 1 in 4 children are being raised by mothers only.
8. “We didn’t think you’d want the job/opportunity/promotion/invitation since you have young kids at home.”
Fact: In a study at Cornell about the correlation between being a working mother and hirability, mothers were half as likely to be called back based on an identical resume. The study said, “Employers rate fathers as the most desirable employees, followed by childless women, childless men, and finally mothers.”
Hopefully, through awareness, thoughtful dialogue, and reflection, we can move toward greater equality for women and men that will result in stronger workplaces and families.