DADDY TAX

While acknowledging the sacrifices made by mothers, Glenn Sacks notes that life isn’t a bed of roses for dads, either:

Ann Crittenden’s popular The Price of Motherhood: Why Motherhood is the Most Important–And Least Valued–Job in America, released in paperback this week, has become the first feminist classic of the new millennium. Crittenden’s “mothers’ manifesto” is an expose of the so-called “mommy tax,” which can include reduced job opportunities and salary for mothers, as well as a lack of appreciation, often from working women themselves.

However, if there is a woman paying the “mommy tax” by sacrificing her earning power to be at home full-time or part-time, there has to be a man in the household supporting the family and, by so doing, paying the “daddy tax.” Crittenden, by defining “privilege” and “sacrifice” only in terms of pay and career status, sees disadvantages only for mothers and not for fathers. But what about the price of fatherhood?

The average American father works 51 hours a week. While nearly half of American mothers with children under the age of six do not work full time, even those who do average only a 41 hour work week. American men work the longest hours of any workers (male or female) in the industrialized world. Men work 90% of the overtime hours in the US, and are more likely to work nights and weekends, to travel for work, and to have long commutes. All of these deprive fathers of valuable time with their children.

In addition, men do our society’s most hazardous and demanding jobs, in large part because the higher pay allows them to better provide for their families. Nearly 100,000 American workers died from job-related injuries over the past decade and a half, 95% of them men. There were over 100 million workplace injuries in the US between 1976 and 1999, again the overwhelming majority of them suffered by men.

Men dominate in all stress-related diseases, including a two to one lead in heart disease. In fact, Gloria Steinem once cited this in advising men to support women’s careers, saying, “Men–support feminism! You have nothing to lose but your coronaries!”

Less time with their children, long work days and work weeks, job hazards and job stress–all of these are the daddy tax. I know, because I’ve paid it.

This is an interesting point.

I’d also point out another sacrifice dad’s make: recognition. At least in more traditional situations where mom puts in more face time with the kids, dad’s get virtually no credit for their contribution to the raising of their kids. As Bill Cosby famously noted, nobody ever says, “Hi, Dad!” when the camera turns on them at sporting events.

(Hat tip: Dean Esmay)

FILED UNDER: Popular Culture
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Steven says:

    Part of the problem of much feminist analysis (and to some degree, all discussion) on this topic is the refusal to see child-rearing as a team effort–indeed, of marriage itself as a partnership and a labor-sharing process.

    There is also the assumption, which is incorrect, that the way to measure success is solely monetary compensation and career titles.

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