Posts Tagged ‘sahd wahd’
Via the New York Times, a story (really a personal blog post) from Max Schireson, the current CEO of MongoDB, who decided to step down from the position in order to spend more time with his family. In other words, he opted out.
The blog post is fairly straightforward and worth reading, but this is the line I decided to share:
Friends and colleagues often ask my wife how she balances her job and motherhood. Somehow, the same people don’t ask me.
I’ll take it a step further. People don’t ask women who are married to successful men “what do you do?” Men, at least this man (I’m referring to me), are always asked what they do. “Father” isn’t enough. SAHD WAHD is the real answer, but it requires explaining. I usually answer “writer”, “primary caregiver”, or both, depending on the situation.
At the risk of tooting my own horn (note: I don’t even own a horn), this is a topic I’ve been talking about for years. I wrote about it on ForbesWoman, AOL ParentDish, and anyplace else I had the opportunity. It’s a very important thing to point out. Every parent makes choices. The expectations, however, are drastically different for men and women. I’ll quote myself again: there is a magazine called ‘Working Mother’, but there will never be a magazine called ‘Working Father.’
In an ideal world, Schireson’s tale wouldn’t be a major story. He’s making a choice that working women (a really annoying term that we really should be past but we’re not) are expected to make every single day. Women are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Men, on the other hand, tend to receive praise for opting out.
Obviously not everyone feels the same way. There were some seriously negative comments posted on the AOL article I wrote in 2009. A lot of people believe that men should go to work and women should stay home and focus on raising the kids. That is still the way things work in the majority of households in the United States, at least as far as I know.
To clarify, my points on this matter are the following:
– Men do not have to be the primary bread-winner. They can be primary caregivers. I don’t know if that’s what Max Schireson’s role will be in his family; his children aren’t babies. Still, he made a choice, and it’s a valid one.
– This should not be such a big deal. Think about the story for a moment. As you can see below, every media outlet from The Today Show on down covered what is essentially a personal decision made by a parent who happens to have a job. Why does this matter? Why, in the 21st century, are we still so stuck on traditional gender roles?
– None of what I say here should be construed as being disparaging to Mr. Schireson in any way. This should go without saying, but since the Interwebs is where nuance goes to die, I want to make it clear that I respect what this particular parent decided to do. I would also respect him if he stayed on as CEO because he saw it as a way to make a lot of money and secure his family’s future. In fact, I would feel the same way if a woman were to make either decision. These are personal matters. Not everything works for everybody else.
– Not everyone has the luxury of being able to make this choice. This is important. Single parents generally need to work full-time (unless they have a lot of money socked away; if so, good for them). Again — nuance. Not all situations are the same.
Personally, I think it’s great that Mr. Schireson decided to pull back from what sounds like a hectic work schedule in order to be around for his kids. I think it’s great that he is in a financial position to do so. I wish him and his family nothing but the best.
And I really, truly wish that we didn’t have to talk about this topic any more. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in.
Related articles (Note: These are offsite links; DaddyTips takes no responsibility for outside content.)
I am not getting anything done. This is frustrating.
I don’t think I need a book like Organizing For Dummies. First, I’m not a dummy. Second, the issue isn’t organization. It’s time.
Yes, there’s a book for that too. And it can bite me. (Technically it can’t, unless it’s one of those books from Harry Potter. But I digress.)
The issue for me is not managing time properly. The issue is not having any time to manage.
Parenting, as I’ve said often, is not easy. Raising kids takes time. Some of the things that one must do when raising kids are things that can only be done if said kids leave you alone for awhile. My kids are great. But I’m the type of person who needs multiple minutes in a row in order to accomplish anything significant. Starting a task — even, say, writing a blog post — and then getting interrupted (not always by kids) can and does derail my activity. This isn’t the case for everyone, but it is for me.
Then there’s relaxation. Downtime is a requirement for parents. It took me awhile to realize this, but trust me, it’s true. While it is true that the children eventually go to sleep and I could use that time to do various tasks, that’s not always a good idea. Because a tired dad is a cranky dad, and a cranky dad is no fun for anyone.
Eventually the stuff that absolutely must be done will in fact be done. Because that’s the way it is. This is how we do it. Letting important things slide is not an option. Starting and stopping and getting stymied is still annoying.
Of course I can.
Mike Adamick is a dad and a writer. I guess he’s a SAHD WAHD like myself, although I don’t like to bestow that acronym upon anyone other than myself because of the way it sounds when you say it out loud. (Try it, I’ll wait.) Anyway, I know Mike from way back when we both wrote for Babble at the same time (he was there first).
Here’s a bit of the description from Amazon:
This book shows you and your kids how to build:
– Comic book shoes
– Rope swings
– Homemade goo slime
– Eggshell cupcakes
– Ol’-fashioned fruit crate scooter
Dude, you had me at “goo slime,” but only because I saw that before I saw “comic book shoes.” I don’t even know what comic book shoes are but I want to make them.
Anyway, I’m buying a copy. You should too.
What? You’re still here? Go get it already!
Oh, and visit MikeAdamick.com.
A story from the Financial Times about a dad who made a choice to stay home with the kids while the wife works. See also: SAHD WAHD explained.
So here is something I wrote for Parents.com — 10 Best Apps For Paranoid Parents.
I have a new gig writing for ForbesWoman. I’m covering gender in the workplace issues from a male perspective.
This is something I have a lot of opinions about. OK, I have a lot of opinions about everything. But this topic fits in with DaddyTips and other topics I’ve covered over the years.
Here are links to my first three posts: Read more »