The Persistence Of Gendered Parenting Norms

A very quick note here on something from the NYT Motherlode.   Iif you have a two-person, mother/father family, sometimes the mother goes to work and the father stays home and sometimes the father goes to work and the mother stays home.  I’ll grant you that the latter probably occurs more often than the former, and that’s important to pay attention to.   But are those two situations–mother work/father home and father work/mother home–qualitatively different?  

Acccording to the census bureau they are.  In the first situation the child is in child-care.   (That would be child-care provided by the father.)   In the second situation, the child is not in child care (because they child is home with mom.)  I am not sure if I totally understand these categories, but it seems to me that means that the child home with dad is counted like the child in child-care center while the child home with mom isn’t.   There’s all sorts of odd things that might come from this categorization.    I won’t discuss those now, but is there any real defense for the gendered nature of the way they’re categorizing?

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6 responses to “The Persistence Of Gendered Parenting Norms

  1. It’s kinda odd. I wonder if they are using the same categories of ‘800!

  2. I’m with you Julie. That is ridiculous.

  3. When I think of “child care” I think of paid child care. I don’t think a father watching his own child is “child care” and I wouldn’t even think it was “child care” if, say, the grandmother who lived with the parents and child watched the child during the day.

    • Agreed. I think what is going on here is that any child who is not being cared for by her/his mother is being defined as “in child care”–because mothers are the only people whose care isn’t child-care. So if mom is home with the kid then not childcare, but otherwise, it’s childcare no matter who it is. I’m not saying for a minute this makes sense, but it is the only way I can even understand what the census is doing. It would be nice if they moved along into our century and made some slightly finer distinctions. I think it could be useful to know when two parents decide that one parent will stay home with the child vs. when they decide some other relative might care for the child vs. when the child is in paid care. This obscures all that.

  4. i suppose i could write letter to the census beureau

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