Tag Archives: fathers

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

Five Myths About Working Mothers from the Washington Post

Thanks to Becky and Hollee for drawing my attention to this article in the Washington Post –  Five Myths About Working Mothers by Naomi Cahn and June Carbone. A great summary of some of the big myths about employed mothers that just won’t die because they’re held up by outdated stereotypes about mothers, fathers, and work.

A few are myths I discuss at length in my book This is Not How I Thought It Would Be: Remodeling Motherhood to Get the Lives We Want Today.

“1. Mothers today spend much less time caring for children than did their parents and grandparents.”  False!

“4. Women who work are less likely to have successful marriages.” False!

“5. Parents don’t experience discrimination in the workplace.” False!

And two that I didn’t have a chance to explore in detail.

“2. Women’s jobs interfere with family life more than men’s.” False!

“3. Mothers with college degrees are more likely than other women to opt out of the workforce.” False!

Of course, there are also plenty of myths about mothers who are not employed such as “Mothers who are not employed are dull.” (i.e. the soap opera and bon-bons myth.) Think you know them? Take my Mental Map Matching Quiz and match the real-life scenario to the outdated stereotype about mothers or fathers.

Which myths about mothers and fathers do you confront most often? Which are the most problematic in your life?


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Filed under Assumptions about Mothers, Family Work, Fatherhood, Motherhood, News & Commentary, Remodeling Motherhood, stereotypes, Workplace and Employment

Why I Hate the Mom Salary Survey

This past week leading up to Mother’s Day, Salary.com published its 10th Annual Mom Salary Survey which calculates that Stay-at-Home Moms Would Earn US$117,856 if paid for her family work. Employed mothers, the survey says, would earn US$71,860 above their regular salary for their mom duties – less because they pay for some childcare.

I hope the 10th Annual Survey is the last. Continue reading

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

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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

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Gloria Steinem with Patt Morrison

Love this Patt Morrison interview with Gloria Steinem in today’s LA Times, Gloria Steinem: The Founder. Agree or disagree, she’s honest and doesn’t have rose-colored glasses on when it comes to the status of women in this country.

Favorite quote, “The big step for this coming generation is to get to a place where men raise children as much as women do.”

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Filed under Articles, Assumptions about Mothers, Fatherhood, Gender Issues, 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

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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