The U.S. Census Bureau, in a report entitled “Who’s Minding the Kids?” assumes mom is the “designated parent” in households in which both the mother and father are present and assumes dad is one of many child care arrangements including day care, grandparent care and self-care.
This is an unfair characterization of all dads but particularly for those, like us, who are at-home dads. In nearly every way, at-home dads perform the same parenting function as has “traditionally” been done by at-home moms. We clean (not always well), cook, fold laundry, bandage up skinned knees and help with homework. Except for birthing and breastfeeding, we do everything an at-home mom can do.
Yet, I don’t think any mom would appreciate being called a “child care arrangement” or a “babysitter.” Neither do we.
The National At-Home Dad Network, believes it is time for the Census to change its assumptions that moms are the “designated parent” and dads are a “child care arrangement.” Culturally, this does not adequately define the dramatic increase in involved fatherhood in the 21st century. Methodologically, this assumption fails to provide an accurate picture of how families are navigating child care and financial responsibilities.
For these reasons we created an online petition to the Census, House of Representatives and Senate urging the Census to eliminate any presumption that one gender be the “designated parent” which will more accurately reflect our society today.
Please share and sign the petition at http://www.change.org/petitions/dads-dont-babysit
(Note: This petition is now closed.)
To bring more attention to this issue, we will feature a post each day this week on why dads don’t babysit including a two-part detailed analysis of why the Census’s methodology is inaccurate from a professor of psychology and at-home dad, some great phrases and graphics you can share with your friends about why you are not a “babysitter” from our Communications and Marketing Committee and a scathing rebuke of the Census’s opinion of fathers.
Also this week, we strongly encourage you to change your Facebook profile picture to the graphic on this post. We want to see thousands of profile pics declaring “Dads Don’t Babysit!”
For far too long dads have sat in the background of the parenting landscape. They have been providers and heroes for their children while society has largely ignored their contribution. The growth in the number of at-home dads alone (which has more than DOUBLED the last 10 years) proves that dads are willing and able to be very involved parents.
It’s time for society to know what you already know; that dads are parents and equal to moms. It’s time to stand up and be recognized for your contribution. It’s time for society to realize that DADS DON’T BABYSIT!