TIME

Sheryl Sandberg Wants Men to Lean In, Too

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Emely—Getty Images/Cultura RF Young girl dangling from her fathers arm

The new #LeanInTogether initiative promotes equality at work and at home

The latest Lean In initiative isn’t about women at work — it’s about men.

In the spirit of #HeForShe, Sheryl Sandberg and her team launched Lean In Together, a new campaign designed to help men promote gender equality at home and at work. It involves a partnership with NBA and WNBA stars, and includes specific tips for how men can Lean In, too.

They’ve also produced a short video with Makers, about how famous women like Hillary Clinton and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were able to achieve partly because of support from the men in their lives. As Sandberg puts it, “being a parent’s not a full-time job for a woman and a part-time job for a man.”

Here are the #LeanInTogether tips for how men can Lean In at home:

1) Be a 50/50 partner, by equally sharing household duties.

2) Be an active father, even if you’re not perfect — kids with active dads have better self esteem.

3) Close the wage gap at home, by not valuing chores done by boys (like taking out the trash) more than chores done by girls.

4) Challenge gender stereotypes, by making sure your kids play with diverse toys and see diverse characters in books and movies

5) Help your daughter lead. Not calling her “bossy” is a start — also encourage her to be assertive in other ways, like introducing herself to people.

6) Don’t tell your son to “man up,” which can be just as damaging as calling a girl “bossy.”

There are also some tips for Leaning In at work in a way that supports your female colleagues — check them out here.

Read next: More Sex—and 7 Other Benefits for Men who Help Out at Home

 

TIME Fatherhood

Working Dads Struggle to Balance Demands of Home Too

White House press secretary Josh Earnest speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House in Washington on Jan. 30, 2015.
Carolyn Kaster—AP White House press secretary Josh Earnest speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House in Washington on Jan. 30, 2015.

Today’s working fathers are struggling to balance the demands of their jobs with their home lives more than ever. That was the thrust of research discussed on a panel on fatherhood at a liberal think tank in Washington Wednesday.

But the panel also inadvertently revealed some of the reasons why this problem does not get the attention it deserves.

The audience at the event at the Center for American Progress was roughly balanced between men and women, though more women asked questions. Out of six speakers, four were women and only one spoke about his personal experiences as a father. That guest happened to be Josh Earnest, currently the White House press secretary, one of the most time-consuming and demanding jobs in Washington.

Earnest’s wife gave birth to their son, Walker, in August, luckily during Obama’s two-week vacation and a typically slow time for news in the nation’s capital. Earnest said that he has struggled with work-life balance in ways that fathers in the past may not have.

“There is a greater expectation that men will be more involved in the raising and parenting of their children, and that also has inspired I think, it certainly has in me, a desire to be part of that parenting,” he said. “And that does sometimes come into conflict with the pressures that you have at work to fulfill those work responsibilities.”

A CAP report released today entitled “Men, Fathers, and Work-Family Balance” echoed Earnest’s observation: “Fathers today are expected to be involved in child care and domestic responsibilities, sharing care work with their partners rather than simply helping out when needed. Increased societal pressure to be active and engaged parents means more men now face the type of competing demands that women face.”

The data backs this up. The National Study of the Changing Workforce, which was cited in the report, found that between 1977 and 2008, the percentage of mothers in dual-earner couples who reported work-family conflict grew from 41% to 47%, while the percentage of fathers reporting it grew from 25% to 60%.

“I think a lot of highly educated women have different expectations for what … type of partner they are interested in making a family with, so they’re not settling for a Don Draper-type of family,” said Erin Rehel, a co-author of the report and a panelist at Wednesday’s Center for American Progress discussion.

Panelists at the event suggested ways to fix it that would help fathers of all economic backgrounds: paid sick leave, paid family leave, better child-support regulations and predictable work hours.

President Obama brought these issues to the forefront when he mentioned paid sick leave in his State of the Union address last month. “Today, we’re the only advanced country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers. … And that forces too many parents to make the gut-wrenching choice between a paycheck and a sick kid at home. So I’ll be taking new action to help states adopt paid leave laws of their own.”

For now, Earnest is wrestling with how to make his own predictable hours, which, for him, means leaving the office around 5:30 p.m. once a week.

“One of the things that I have tried to install into my schedule here in the new year has been to find one weekday during the week when I will leave the office in time to get home to be a part of Walker’s bedtime ritual,” he said. “So far there have been four weeks in 2015 and I’ve made it each week. Now it’s Wednesday and I haven’t made it this week. The clock is ticking.”

TIME Television

Kristin Chenoweth Says Her Dad Made Her Afraid Of Flying

She bought her dad a plane for Christmas

Kristin Chenoweth admitted to buying her dad a plane for Christmas, but she doesn’t share his affinity for flying– and it’s his fault.

When Chenoweth’s father took her flying once in a Cessna she bought him as a gift, he pulled a prank that made her less than comfortable in the air. The actress, promoting her return to Broadway next month in musical On the Twentieth Century, related the trick to Seth Meyers last night on NBC’s Late Night With Seth Meyers.

Watch above to find out more.

TIME Parenting

Expectant Dads Experience Prenatal Hormone Changes Too

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Getty Images

Including a decrease in testosterone

Women aren’t the only ones who experience hormonal changes before having a baby. As it turns out, men also have some hormonal waves prior to becoming dads.

New research published in the American Journal of Human Biology looked at 29 couples expecting their first child. The researchers took salvia samples of the participants and measured their levels of the hormones testosterone, cortisol, estradiol, and progesterone. The couples’ hormones were measured at weeks 12, 20, 28, and 36 of pregnancy.

It’s long been proven that expectant women undergo hormonal changes, but less is known about the soon-to-be-papas. The new study shows that while women had increases in all four types of hormones, men had decreases in their testosterone and estradiol levels, but no significant changes in cortisol or progesterone.

It’s the first research to evidence that prenatal testosterone changes can occur in expectant fathers, though the changes are still small compared to those observed in women.

The researchers did not compare the couples to other non-expectant couples, so exactly how great these changes are compared to couples who aren’t expecting kids is undetermined. And scientists were unable to conclude why men experience these changes, though there are some speculations based on prior research.

For instance, prior studies have suggested that men’s hormones change after becoming fathers as they adopt more nurturing behaviors. Or that drops in testosterone may reflect sleep disruptions or disruptions in sexual activity due to having kids. Some of these same behaviors may happen during pregnancy too. The psychological, emotional and behavioral changes of new parenthood could also cause hormonal waves in expectant dads.

“It will be important for future research to determine whether the changes that we observed in men’s hormones reflect processes associated with fatherhood specifically, or long-term pair-bonding more generally,” the authors concluded. 

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TIME celebrity

Chris Pratt Says Being a Dad Is So Much More Awesome Than Being an Actor

"Delivery Man" Press Conference
Vera Anderson—WireImage / Getty Images

He shares a touching, emotional story about his son's premature birth

On Friday, Chris Pratt took a break from being fun and charming and adorable to get a little more reflective and emotional. He attended the March of Dimes Celebration of Babies, where he shared the story of his son Jack, who was born prematurely.

His wife, actress Anna Faris, had Jack nine weeks early, Pratt explains, and he was just 3 pounds, 12 ounces. Of course, Pratt still managed to include humor in his touching speech. “That’s a decent-sized bass,” he joked. “Very small for a human.”

He went on to explain what fatherhood now means to him:

I’ve done all kinds of cool things as an actor — I’ve jumped out of helicopters and done some daring stunts and played baseball in a professional stadium, but none of it means anything compared to being somebody’s daddy. I made promises in that moment about what kind of dad I wanted to be and I just prayed that he’d live long enough that I could keep them.

After a month in the NICU, Jack went home. “Our Jack went from a small, helpless little squirt to a strong, smart, happy, funny, beautiful boy who loves monster trucks and ‘Daniel Tiger,’ and, believe it or not, loves vegetables,” Pratt said. “Broccoli and cherry tomatoes are his favorite foods.”

Here’s Pratt, Faris and Jack celebrating Thanksgiving this year:

We have a feeling Pratt is also a really great dad to his pug.

MONEY First-Time Dad

Why Work-Life Balance Is Just As Impossible for Dads

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This mug is what I'm missing out on when I'm working late.

We're struggling with the same issues working moms face, says MONEY reporter and first-time dad Taylor Tepper.

Sometimes I feel like a bad dad.

Doubts over my parental savvy often correlate with how long I’m at the office. When I call to tell Mrs. Tepper that I’ll be here until 7:30 p.m. working on a magazine feature—and won’t be home to put our son Luke to bed—the soft disappointment in her voice stays with me like a faint ember.

The same guilty feelings apply to my job, too.

I’m 28 and now is the time to work long hours, take on more responsibility and show my bosses just how willing I am to immolate myself for the greater good. Every time I leave the building at 5:30 p.m., a part of me thinks I’m sacrificing future promotions, raises and glory.

What it means to be an American father, and the responsibilities therein, have changed radically in the last few decades. In 1975, 45% of families consisted of a male breadwinner and a stay-at-home mom; today 31% do. And now, men are taking on more chores and spending more time with their children than their dads spent with them.

But this blending of gender roles has done much to confuse the male mind. We want to spend more time with the kids and earn accolades on the job; we want to attend the soccer game and become senior management; we want to be Bill Cosby and Steve Jobs.

Many of us feel—just as working moms do—that we’re succeeding at neither.

The Research Backs Me Up on This

According Boston College’s Center for Work & Family, 86% of dads agreed or strongly agreed that “my children are the number one priority in my life.”

That’s well and good.

At the same time, though, more than three in four fathers wished to advance to a position with greater responsibilities and three in five demonstrated a strong desire to reach senior management.

Half of working dads say they find it very or somewhat difficult to balance the responsibilities of work and family, according to Pew.

And on the whole, we don’t feel like we’re living up to the dad role either. Almost eight in 10 dads want to spend more time with their children on an average workday, and one in two say they spend too little time with their kids. (Only 23% of mothers feel that way.) From first-hand experience, there is nothing quite as enervating as coming home from work to an already-sleeping son.

In Boston College’s research, you also see dads grappling with perceptions of what they want and the reality of how things are.

While today’s fathers also recognize that parenting is a two-person job—65% say they believe that partners should take care of a child evenly—only one in three say that they actually split the work in half. Women typically spend more than three times as many hours per week solely looking after the child than men.

Even on weekends, men fail to live up to their ideal. On Saturdays and Sundays, moms spend 1.2 more hours on housework and childcare than dads do. When it comes to time spent on leisure activities, dads out-loaf moms by an hour.

While Mrs. Tepper and I have something of a modern marriage—split chores, female breadwinner—she almost certainly watches Luke more on the weekends, especially when sports are on.

In spite of my few hours more on the couch, however, I’d still argue that achieving and maintaining true work-life balance is impossible. You can’t achieve these competing goals—working at the top of my game, being the best dad and husband ever, and getting in a few NBA games to recharge my own engine—within a finite number of hours in the day.

So, What Is a Modern Dad to Do?

I put that question to Sara Sutton Fell, the CEO of FlexJobs.com, a job search site focusing on companies that allow for flexible schedules and telecommuting. Her advice: to think of work-life balance as more of a journey than a destination.

“As a working parent with two young sons, I believe that work-life balance is often mistaken as an end-point that we reach eventually,” she says. “In my experience, it’s more of a balancing act—shifting your weight back and forth between your various responsibilities.”

Some days you’re going have to work long hours at the office to close out a project or meet a deadline, in other words; and some days you’re going to work from home to take your kid to the doctor.

Try to find an employer that will embrace that flexibility, Fell says.

This makes sense.

But we’ve also got to try to overcome our own guilt. That means accepting our limitations as parents and workers and people, and setting realistic expectations for ourselves.

It’s difficult to remember, but today’s dads spend more time with their kids than their fathers spent with them by a factor of three. Today’s fathers are by and large more engaged in their kids’ lives than previous generations. So we’re definitely doing better, if not up to the standards we’d hold for ourselves.

When I’m stuck in the office until dark, maintaining that perspective is difficult. But I try to remember that the next morning I’ll be there when Luke wakes up, and with any luck, arrive home in time to help his mom put him to sleep.

And if not, there’s always tomorrow.

Taylor Tepper is a reporter at Money. His column on being a new dad, a millennial, and (pretty) broke appears weekly. More First-Time Dad:

TIME celebrity

Brad Pitt: “I Want to Spend More Time With My Kids”

Brad Pitt
Jason LaVeris—WireImage Brad Pitt

The actor opens up about being a dad

Brad Pitt’s favorite role? Being a dad.

The 50-year-old actor, newly married to Angelina Jolie and father to six, told the U.K’s Psychologies magazine that being a father makes him “feel like the richest man alive,” according to TODAY.

Though he says being a parent is “the most beautiful thing you can experience,” he also admits that he worries when it comes to his children. “I worry about them all the time,” he says. “That’s the emotional bond and responsibility that sweeps over you when you have a family to look after. I care about them more than I care about myself, which I think is the real definition of love.”

Amid all the gushing, it’s clear that Pitt’s priorities are shifting to his family, possibly at the expense of his career. “I’ve been slowing down for a while now — and slowly transitioning to other things,” Pitt says in British GQ’s November issue. “And, truthfully, I do want to spend more time with my kids before they’re grown up and gone.”

TIME Fatherhood

Emma Watson Is Right—Don’t Take Potshots at Fathers

"All children (and dads) must be with an adult at all times."
Courtesy the author "All children (and dads) must be with an adult at all times."

Aaron Gouveia writes for his site The Daddy Files.

Men suffer from gender stereotyping, too. Sometimes—perhaps especially—dear old dads get the worst of it.

“I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society despite my needing his presence as a child as much as my mother’s. We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence.”- Emma Watson

The famous actress and Ivy League graduate uttered those spectacular words in an address to the United Nations last week. Watson, a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador, gave an impassioned speech calling on men to join women in the battle for gender equality. But in the process, she spoke about the importance of dads, the gender stereotypes that exist for men, and the reasons both sexes have to speak up for one another.

And her timing couldn’t have been better.

This weekend, I waded into unexpected controversy regarding this very topic at the unlikeliest of places – a Massachusetts apple orchard.

As my wife and two sons dutifully joined me in the most quintessential of New England activities, we paid our money and eagerly set out toward the tractor that would bring us to the honeycrisp, macoun, and gala apples we love so much. But before we could hitch our ride we had to stand in line, giving my 6-year-old – a first-grader with a voracious appetite for reading – time to show off his budding skills by reading every single sign in sight.

Except this particular sign was one I wish neither of us had seen (and not just because the font was Comic Sans). It said “All Children (And Dads) Must Be With An Adult At All Times.” My son was confused, and asked me if “daddies have to be watched like kids.” I was confused as well, wondering how a “family friendly” farm could be so tone deaf in taking an unnecessary potshot at fathers (who double as paying customers).

At that point I knew two things: 1) I was going to firmly but respectfully call them on it via their Facebook page and ask them to reconsider, and 2) I was going to get absolutely slammed by angry Internet zealots upset about “political correctness.”

“You’re a whiny [expletive]!”
“You’re such a pansy!”
“Get a sense of humor. PC people like you are what’s wrong with this country!”

And those were the polite ones that didn’t insult my physical appearance, my wife, or my children. But as someone who has tackled this topic before, I expected every bit of it.

Unfortunately, this is usually what happens when men speak out against negative and harmful stereotypes that cast dads as overgrown children and second-class parents. We’re told to “suck it up and be a man.” We’re told we should shut our mouths because there are more important issues on which to focus. We’re even told there’s a lot of truth in those old stereotypes, because many dads are like children and do need supervision.

Look, this sign is not the end of the world and it’s far from the most offensive thing I’ve ever seen. But you have to understand the mixed messages fathers get nowadays, and how negative the cumulative effect can be when the bar for dads is set so low.

Men are roundly criticized for working too much and spending too much time away from home, yet many people are suspect of stay-at-home dads and routinely stigmatize them as lazy freeloaders. People call for fathers to spend more time on the home front in an effort to be equal partners in parenting, yet dads who seek out paternity leave or flexible scheduling do so while risking their advancement and earning opportunities, because many employers believe such actions show an employee less dedicated than his counterparts.

It gets even worse in the media. Huggies thought incompetent dads were the “ultimate test” for their diapers, Clorox put dads on par with house pets, and Ray Romano’s character in “Everybody Loves Raymond” constantly had to be bailed out by his wife, making him the gold standard of what not to do if you want to be an involved dad.

On one hand we’re told we need to be more involved, but at the same time we’re routinely bombarded with messages on TV and in advertisements showing dads as bumbling morons and second class parents. And as Watson pointed out, that kind of attitude isn’t just bad for men. It’s damaging to women as well.

If dads take on more work at home, more women can choose to pursue careers. As for working moms, it allows them to get out from under the so-called “Second Shift,” in which they work and then have to come home to handle the bulk of household and childcare related tasks. The upside is children benefit from time with both parents, men start to become more equal partners in parenting, and women gain ground in the gender equality department.

To the orchard’s credit, they agreed to take the sign down. I’m positive the slight to dads was unintentional and not malicious, but I stand by the decision to address it publicly because shedding light on an issue is the only way to implement change.

It’s not whiny to offer valid criticism and it’s not effeminate to speak up for change. And if Emma Watson is brave enough to speak up even in the face 4Chan bullies* threatening to release nude pictures of her, I’m more than happy to be called a “spineless lib-tard crybaby” if it helps even a few more people break down gender stereotypes.

I genuinely hope people heed Watson’s words, because she’s right. Dads or moms, it doesn’t matter. In the end it’s the same fight, and we’re in it together.

 

Aaron Gouveia is a husband and father of two boys, and writes for his site, The Daddy Files.

 

*UPDATE: That threat turned out to be a hoax.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Fatherhood

Mark Sanford’s Oversharing Doesn’t Make Him a Bad Dad

Sure, the S.C. senator wrote a 2300-plus-word breakup post on Facebook that reads like a romance novel--but that doesn't mean he shouldn't be allowed to see his kids

Being a hideously tone-deaf oversharer and terrible husband does not necessarily make you a bad father. An embarrassing one, yes, but not a let’s-keep-him-away-from-the-kids one. I’m speaking, of course, of South Carolina Senator Mark Sanford and his latest Facebook rant.

There are so many things wrong with the way the Senator runs his personal affairs. First and foremost, he too often seems lose sight of the “personal” part of that phrase. He justified his 2300-plus-word Facebook post of Sept. 12 by saying he believes he owes the taxpayers of South Carolina an explanation: “In as much as you sign my paycheck and you have elected me to represent you in Washington, I think I owe you my thinking on this personal, but now public matter.”

This feels a little like a butcher forcing his or her customers to watch him make the sausages, because later they’re going to buy them and eat them. No, really, sir: we’re fine.

The “sausage,” in this case, is that Sanford and his wife, Jenny, with whom he split after falling in love with an Argentinian women, Maria Belén Chapur, are fighting over how much access he has to their four sons. Attorneys are involved, and while Sanford proclaims a huge aversion to the legal profession, he’s decided to lawyer up. (Jenny’s side claims he always had a lawyer.) All of this, one would think, might merit a crisply worded 250 word press release, noting that the Senator, having tried all avenues to reach an amicable settlement with his former wife, has retained legal counsel and blah blah blah et cetera. Nothing to see here; move along.

But no. The public has to endure another in a series of Heartfelt Sanford Outpourings, which–for those who haven’t been following along–so far include the one about how he was not on the Appalachian Trail but with a woman (June 24, 2009), and how Maria Belén, the woman he was with not-on-the-Appalachian-Trail, was his soulmate and how theirs was “a forbidden, tragic love story,” (July 1, 2009).

These communications always seems to come from the Harlequin playbook, full of emotional pleas and heartsore teeth gnashing. “No relationship can stand forever this tension of being forced to pick between the one you love and your own son or daughter,” writes the former Love Guv in his latest post on Facebook.

The one difference is that Harlequin novels are blessedly brief. As one wit noted, Sanford’s post contains more words than the Senator has uttered in Congress this year. It’s a small mercy that there is no accompanying video to go with this announcement, as that’s where Senator Soulmate really seems to let his emotions get the better of him.

It’s clear, though, that this post too was written in the heat of the moment and without much forethought. One sentence uses the word “way ” four times. Other phrases in his Facebook tome, with their references to faith, smack of that kid in a church youth group who always used prayer requests as an excuse to gossip about other kids in the youth group who weren’t in the room.

Still other pieces of this confessional quilt have enough lashings of self-pity to make Uriah Heep throw up a little in his mouth. “It seems that history well documents that those who work to avoid conflict at all costs wind up being those destined in many instances to find much conflict,” writes Sanford. Quick, alert the Nobel Committee: Mark Sanford, Peacemaker at a Price.

What transpires is this: Sanford and his wife continue to tussle, legally, over how often he gets to see his sons. He’s accusing her of playing dirty pool–all pretty standard high-conflict divorce shenanigans–and it is stressing him out, people. As a result of this, he’s calling off his engagement to his Argentinian soulmate, whom he has “always loved.” (Not quite enough to let her know in advance of the announcement, though, reports say.)

But while Sanford may be about the most ridiculously inept and cheesy cheating ex of all time, none of it should disqualify him from being able to see his four sons. He says, somewhere in there among all the crazy, that he didn’t get to see one of them for 17 weeks. It’s hard to tell if that’s just the anguish speaking or if it’s true and it’s generally a fool’s errand to try and second guess the family courts. Maybe there are extenuating circumstances. But if true, that’s too long. There’s already enough fatherlessness in the land.

Custody battles can be ugly messy businesses and can end up in disaster and tragedy. Posting a public tear on a well-visited social media site about a mean ex-wife is clearly bad for the kids (and avert-your-eyes embarrassing for everyone else), but it does not disqualify someone from being a dad. One definite upside of regular contact with one’s offspring is that they’re not afraid to opine on how irrevocably lame attempts at social media are. Now that is advice which Sanford desperately needs to hear right now. And which we, the public, need him to hear.

TIME

5 Reasons Dads Shouldn’t Work Outside the Home

Dana Menussi—Getty Images

Your kids will be smarter and safer—and your sex will get a boost

The research is conclusive: the only way to guarantee a happy and successful family is for dads to stay home with their children. Yet, for some reason, many men continue to remain in the workforce, even after fatherhood, honestly believing it to be in the best interest of their household. One has to wonder if these misguided individuals read anything online at all. In report after report, poll after poll, no matter how few people questioned or how unscientific the study, the implications are the same: stay-at-home dads rule and working dads drool.

1. Dads who do the dishes raise the best kids. While it is true that any dad can do dishes, most of them don’t. According to a 2013 survey of a whole lot of people by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of dudes in this country are kind of slackers. Stay-at-home dads, however, must do dishes. It’s in the job description. This is important because, according to a highly reported University of British Columbia study (that hasn’t actually been published yet), a strong indicator of a girl’s ambition is how active her father is in household chores. The study found that it is one thing for men to talk the talk of gender equality, it’s quite another to diaper the diaper, launder the laundry, and vacuum the floor. Stay-at-home dads perform all these chores and then some. Though it must be said that, according to informal discussions at a local dad group, “not, like, every day,” because that would be “crazy talk, man.”

2. Stay-at-home dads create future TED Talkers. It cannot be denied that moms are integral in their child’s language development, but recent research, written about by Paul Raeburn in his book Do Fathers Matter? What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We’ve Overlooked, has come to the conclusion that dads are, wait for it… more important. It is suggested that when fathers converse with their children “they use a broader vocabulary [than mothers], and their children learn new words and concepts as a result.” It could be said that this effect is enhanced with stay-at-home dads, who can go for long stretches of time with little to no adult interaction, but still need someone to talk to. Stay-at-home dads often forget that their kids aren’t intimately familiar with the Star Wars universe, but they’re not surprised when, after many conversations about the subject, one of their little tykes opines that Jar Jar Binks was a complete abomination.

3. Stay-at-home dads keep children the safest. Upon first reading, this may seem counter-intuitive, but Mariana Brussoni, an assistant professor in the Dept. of Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia, makes a compelling argument. Fathers, in general, are more likely than mothers to engage in rough and tumble play with their kids. Thus, the assumption may be that dads are more willing to allow bodily injury to befall their children, or, at least, that they are more willing than moms to take that chance. This is not the case. According to Dr. Brussoni, “children who have the opportunity to engage with risks in a secure setting with minimal hazards and appropriate supervision learn lessons that will serve them in good stead when they encounter risks in the ‘real’ world.” Basically, even though it looks to the casual observer like dads are just goofing off and letting their kids perform dumb and dangerous feats of idiocy, they are actually instilling in their children the ability to properly evaluate the limits of adventurous and enterprising behavior. Stay-at-home dads can teach PhD-level courses in playing perilously close to the edge, without going over (or, in any case, how to fall without breaking anything that won’t heal).

4. Stay-at-home dads are better in bed. It all starts with a happy marriage and a healthy sex life. In a poll by Time Money, where I have to assume the guys made sure their wives were not looking at their answers, 44% of men who earn more than their spouses said they have “hot” or “very good” sex. This number jumps to 56% when the ladies brought home more of that bacon. It is thought that the stress of office life makes it difficult for some men to perform. Not a problem for stay-at-home dads. Another theory might be that men are turned on by powerful women who make more money than they do. Nowhere is the reverse-gender pay differential greater than between a working wife and her stay-at-home husband. I do not have the specific data on how “hot” the sex is for stay-at-home dads, but the numbers are pretty easy to extrapolate. My assumption would be that 68% (with a standard deviation of 1%) of stay-at-home dads are satisfied by the temperature of what’s going on in the boudoir.

5. Involved fathers have smaller testicles (which makes their penises look bigger). It’s true. A study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS for, ah, short), found that involved dads have more modest nads than their deadbeat counterparts. This is a good thing. Sack size has nothing to do with sperm count or testosterone levels, just that the berries are a bit smaller in relation to the stick. Being a stay-at-home dad won’t make your penis bigger, but it may make it look bigger. This is not the best reason to become a full time parent, but worse things could happen. And, admittedly, sometimes they do. One of the most agonizing day-to-day experiences of every stay-at-home dad is the constant barrage of tiny elbows, knees, and head-butts to your balls. Trust me, you will want your testes as small and hidden as possible.

Lesser blogs at Amateur Idiot/Professional Dad.

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