Tag Archives: dads

Happy Father’s Day to All the Men Remodeling Fatherhood!

Sharing one of my favorite clips from The Evolution of Dad for Father’s Day, an interview with Dr. Michael Kimmel, one of the nation’s leading researchers and writers on men and masculinity.

“This generation, we’re fighting for the right of men to be equal parents and still feel like real men. Our children are going to take that for granted.”

Here’s to all the fathers I know and love who are making that prediction truer every day!

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Filed under Family Work, Fatherhood, Gender Issues, Parenting, Remodeling Motherhood

Quiz: Match the Stereotype to the Mother/Father Quote

Earlier this week I had the welcome chance to visit Pasadena City College to talk about my book, This is Not How I Thought It Would Be: Remodeling Motherhood to Get the Lives We Want Today. I wanted to make it interactive so I put together this Mental Map Matching Quiz we used together. The quiz asks you to match the quotes and scenarios on the left (all real-life examples) to the outdated mental maps (or stereotypes) about mothers, fathers, money and work on the right.

Lo and behold, it worked just as I’d hoped. In talking through the quiz, and getting outraged at some of the examples, the women in the room were then also able to talk about their own personal examples. The way everyone at school assumes “mom” is the one who will be volunteering in class and bringing class treats. The way a newly pregnant woman found that everyone around her assumed she’d be the one taking care of the baby. The way a stepmom noticed that while her husband had taken care of his kids 50% before she married him, once married they defaulted into her taking care of family.

Take the quiz. Let me know what you think. Share your personal examples – for the next quiz!


Filed under Assumptions about Mothers, Family Work, Fatherhood, Remodeling Motherhood, Remodeling Motherhood Tips, stereotypes

Why Moms Benefit from Feeling LESS Good at Family Care

Recently MSNBC.com featured a new study in an article titled, Too Helpful Dad, Resentful Mom?: Men involved with child care may hurt women’s self-esteem.

The study found that:

“When mothers perceived fathers to be competent caregivers, the more time those dads spent solo with children, the lower was mom’s self-competence rating [related to caregiving]. But when mothers considered spouses relatively incompetent caregivers, increased father-only time with kids was unrelated to mothers’ self-competence.”

In other words, when dad is good at taking care of the kids, mom perceives herself as less good at it than when she thinks dad is lousy at taking care of kids. But note, it’s not that mom perceives that she’s WORSE at caregiving than dad is, just that she feels LESS good at it if he’s good at it, and BETTER at it if she thinks he’s clueless. Continue reading


Filed under Assumptions about Mothers, Family Work, Fatherhood, Gender Issues, Marriage, Motherhood, News & Commentary

Identity Whiplash: An Invisible Epidemic among Mothers and Fathers

Every day, coast to coast, mothers and fathers suffer from an invisible threat – Identity Whiplash.

Let me illustrate. Shortly after my daughter was born, my husband and I went to a college alumni networking event. As we started to mingle, the inevitable question came, “So what are you doing now?” My answer, “Caring for our infant daughter.” From that point on it was as if I disappeared into the floor; no one wanted to talk with me, while everyone chatted happily with my attorney husband. I was stunned, and devastated. I still thought of myself as an intelligent, interesting person, but clearly all of a sudden no one else did.

Or take this scenario. A father friend of mine took his three small children out for coffee one morning, as he wrangled the whirling tutus and the baby on his lap, people gaped. Finally one woman came up to him and said “It’s so AMAZING how you handle all three of them!” He said later it was as if he had one arm and was taking care of three kids, while no one ever stops his wife when she’s out with three kids. While his audience saw him as a freak of nature, he simply thought of himself as a father.

Identity Whiplash happens when mothers and fathers crash into outdated assumptions others have about us that conflict with how we think of ourselves, leaving us dazed, confused and even questioning our identity and our decisions. Continue reading

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Filed under Assumptions about Mothers, Fatherhood, Gender Issues, Motherhood, Remodeling Motherhood, Remodeling Motherhood Tips

Identity Disconnect: Stereotypes About Mothers and Fathers Can Divide Us

A recent post to Mamapedia, “Does Motherhood Equal Identity Loss?” explored the identity changes that come with motherhood and quickly gathered over a hundred comments saying, “I am faced daily with the question of my own personhood. For weeks I’ve been milk maker, soother, diaper changer and occasionally ‘lady who showers and smells nice’… I stress ‘occasionally’ here.” I felt there was so much to say about identity that it is the only topic to have TWO chapters dedicated to it in my book, This is Not How I Thought It Would Be: Remodeling Motherhood to Get the Lives We Want Today, some of which is here in my Identity Pie blog post.

What we don’t often realize is that the same reasons we experience major shifts in our own identities are often the cause of a disconnect between us and our husbands. Continue reading


Filed under Assumptions about Mothers, Family Work, Fatherhood, Gender Issues, Marriage, Motherhood, Remodeling Motherhood

Interview with Equally Shared Parenting Authors Amy and Marc Vachon

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I’m thrilled to share a special Q&A interview with my friends Marc and Amy Vachon whose book, Equally SharedParenting: Rewriting the Rules for a New Generation of Parents just came out last month. Listen in to our conversation here and then check out their book and the additional resources on my Remodeling Motherhood Tools page!

~ Kristin

Amy Vachon, Kristin Maschka, Marc Vachon in MA

What were the hardest assumptions of your own that each of you had to overcome to make ESP work? And can you each share your most memorable example of a time when your ESP arrangement challenged someone ELSE’s stereotypes about mothers and fathers?

Marc: Early in my career, I presumed that it was my responsibility to maximize my earning power to support a family someday. This led to the standard male prescriptive to forge ahead with long hours and an unbalanced dedication toward work. Letting that assumption go took courage (especially since I didn’t have role models to follow as I approached my boss with a request to work part-time – as a single guy). But it allowed me to create a life that I love daily. My work focus changed from wanting to retire early to wanting to work forever.

Amy: The most difficult assumption I had to shake was probably the notion that I had more responsibility for the home and the children. I still catch myself stressing out about little projects or an upcoming dinner party, and have to remember that these tasks can be jointly planned and handled – as long as I let Marc work alongside me as a true peer.

Both: We can think of two separate examples that highlight how others’ stereotypes can rub up against the notion of an equal partnership. In the first, Amy was picking up our daughter from Kindergarten in the school playground when our then 2-year old son threw a temper tantrum and stomped off a few yards away. A random mother was heard commenting snidely, “Who is that kid’s mother?” Yet a couple of months prior, Marc was handling the same pickup, in the same playground, with the same 2-year old throwing a tantrum (what can we say – a 2:20 pickup time doesn’t always mesh with a toddler’s nap schedule!). This time, a random mom approached Marc to ask if she could intervene to calm our son down. She explained that she was “very good at these types of things.”

The second example happened when our daughter was about 2, and fell off a swing at a friend’s birthday party. She ran right past Amy, all the way across the yard into Marc’s arms for comfort. The other parents at the party were too polite to say anything, but we often wonder if they thought Amy had failed as the “mother” in that moment. Amy felt a twinge of self-consciousness, but we both mark that event as one of those times when we could say, “We did it – we gave her two parents she could go to and this is cause for celebration!” Continue reading

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Filed under Book Review, Family Work, Fatherhood, Interview, Marriage, Motherhood

45 Moms and 3 Dads

I was tired, but tonight I dragged myself out to my favorite bookstore, Vroman’s, for a presentation on the social world of children – especially tween and teen girls. Ours is nine, but holy cow 4th grade seems to be when everything starts exploding socially.

So here’s the thing, the place was packed…with moms…and three dads. Continue reading

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Filed under Assumptions about Mothers, Fatherhood, Gender Issues, Kids & School, Motherhood, Remodeling Motherhood

Remodeling Project #1: Casserole Dish, I Curse You

I’m so excited to have my first guest post from a reader of This is Not How I Thought It Would Be: Remodeling Motherhood to Get the Lives We Want Today.  Well, in this case a reader AND a contributor. My friend Tod was so helpful while I was writing and you’ll find several quotes from him in the book. He was also present for the margarita night I held with several fathers described in Chapter 11. I knew Tod’s irreverent voice and perspective as a father would be perfect for a guest post this month when I wanted to focus on marriage and sharing family work, and he didn’t disappoint. Hope you enjoy it and take a look at his blog! Then join the conversation over at my Remodeling Motherhood Facebook Group too.

~ Kristin

Casserole Dish, I Curse You

There is a glass casserole dish that is currently the bane of my existence. OK, well, maybe not the bane. But definitely a bane.

You see, when I do the dishes and put them in the drying rack, I’ll put them away the next morning. But I have an unspoken rule: “I will only put away dishes when I know where they go.” This rule works very well for the arcane tools that could either serve to frost a cake or well serve a medieval bloodletter. And since I didn’t get those tools out, it makes sense that I shouldn’t necessarily have to put them away. Plus, the frustration my wife displays when these tools turn up missing (usually because I put them in the wrong place) makes me wonder if, once found, she’ll first use them to decorate a cupcake or the other use mentioned above.

However, this unspoken rule is not currently serving me well with the casserole dish. Continue reading


Filed under Family Work, Fatherhood, Guest Posts, Marriage, Motherhood, Remodeling Motherhood

Secrets of Stress-Free Family Time


Photo from Original Redbook Article. Photo Credit: Robert Daley/Getty Images

I ran across this great article, by Redbook Magazine‘s Jennifer Matlack, titled “Secrets of Stress-Free Family Time.”  In the article she talks about how to downshift from a busy day so you can relax and reconnect with the ones you love.

The first 10 minutes after you arrive home set the tone for the whole night. It’s been a long, hectic, exhausting day, and all you want to do is wash your stress away with a hot, foamy bath or some mindless TV. But you can’t, of course. You’ve got to start the evening shift at home. And when you’re feeling frazzled and tired, switching gears to reconnect with your family isn’t so easy. “After a tough day, you’re worn thin and on the verge of losing it with your kids,” notes Ingrid Schweiger, Ph.D., a family therapist in New York City. But blowing your top could mean blowing family time altogether, she says, because research shows that the first 10 minutes after you walk through the door at night determine the tone and outcome of the rest of your evening.

You can make it through the witching hour without becoming a witch, however, if you take the time to re-enter family life the right way. First, show your husband and kids that you’re there for them — say hello, make eye contact, hug them, kiss them. Then, grab a moment just for you, Schweiger suggests: “Change your clothes, sit down somewhere — whether it’s the bathroom or your walk-in closet — and for two minutes visualize a peaceful evening with your family.” You’ll be calmer, cooler, and genuinely ready to really be with your husband and kids.

What to do next? Here, 10 women share their creative ideas for easing back into family life after a difficult day:

Continue Reading >>


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Filed under Career-Life Fit, Family Work, Kids & School, Time, Workplace and Employment

Killing Two Stereotypes with One Stone

stereotypesA front page LA Times article, titled Testing Obama’s effect on racial attitudes, explores the impact that President Obama may be having on subconscious anti-black bias in America. It’s a fascinating read and highlights the IAT or Implicit Association Test that I mention in my new book, This Is Not How I Thought It Would Be: Remodeling Motherhood to Get the Lives We Want Today (coming out October 15th). The IAT is used by social scientists to try to identify the degree of subconscious bias people have a about a variety of people such as blacks, the disabled, and women.

It’s a simple exercise you can do online right now in just a few minutes by going to the IAT Demo site. I recommend taking both the test on race and the test on gender and career associations. Humbling to say the least for any of us to find that despite our conscious and truthful statements that we believe the races are equal and that women can be  successful in careers and men can be great with family, underneath most of us carry subconscious biases to the contrary.

The good news is, as the article points out, that it is possible to shift these implicit biases. In Obama’s case, the theory is that such a prominent, visible example of a black man who contradicts the stereotypes is shifting even subconscious attitudes. The analogy for mothers and fathers is that the more people see mothers visibly succeeding in the workplace and fathers visibly taking an active role with family, perhaps over time the subconscious associations that reinforce more traditional family roles will start to fade away. So on that front, the more actively Obama talks about his involvement with his children, he can help us knock out two stereotypes at once!


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Filed under Fatherhood, News & Commentary, stereotypes