A Good Time to be a Dad
It sure is an interesting time to be a father! With Governor Palin's nomination for VP, the sexist barbs about her parenting are slowly giving way to a question about whether or not her husband Todd is going to step up to be the primary parent of their five children. This is juicy stuff for an American culture still not sure that we can handle the job of caring for one baby, nevermind the bottomless needs one can only imagine are present in the Palin children right now. Whether intended or not, the Palin nomination has given us the potential to kick fatherhood right up there with motherhood - and for that, I'm ready. It would be nice if Todd could give us a nod that he is too, but even if he doesn't quite become the role model we'd like, his very protoplasm puts the issue front and center.
In my own usually liberal state of Massachusetts, I'm noticing another kind of issue-raising around the equal status of fathers. It seems we have a law (little did I know before this) that allows full-time workers to claim up to 8 weeks of parental leave upon the birth or adoption of a baby. The law applies to employees of any company with 6 or more workers, and so protects more people than FMLA (pertaining to 50 or more workers). The leave is not paid, but that's not the surprising thing. The crazy part is that the law covers only mothers. Even in cases of adoption, where there is no medical recovery period for either partner. But now fathers are starting to take notice, and call foul play, and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination is gently suggesting (but not forcing) companies to offer the same benefit to men (especially if the benefit goes beyond what this law requires). The law is still on the books in its current gender-bias glory, unfortunately, but men are finally ready to fight back.
Let's join in the party, guys! Dad-power equals mom-power! Maybe something powerful indeed will come of all the focus.