Will President Obama change modern fatherhood?
This story is total mom porn for the modern, liberal woman:
IT is no secret that President Obama desperately wants Congress to pass legislation to overhaul health care. But last month, when Mr. Obama convened Congressional Democratic leaders at the White House for a marathon negotiating session, another priority intervened.
His 11-year-old daughter, Malia, had a band recital.
Thus did the president of the United States ditch his own health care talks — temporarily, at least — to slip off to Sidwell Friends School for a few hours to listen to Malia play the flute. When the recital was over, he returned to the White House, and everybody went back to work. The talks wrapped up at 1:30 a.m., and if the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi; the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid; or anybody else had anything to say about the delay, they held their tongues.
Sigh . . . I mean health care reform is much more important than dinner with a client, right? In the real world (or the people who live around my real world) I hear a lot about dads “not getting it,” probably slightly more often than I hear about the ones that scoot out of work early for family obligations. Of course those fathers don’t exactly have job security for the next three years or other advantages that allow the dad-in-chief stay involved with his wife and daughters.
In a sense, the 48-year-old president is reflecting attitudinal changes about fatherhood that are typical of men in his generation, said Ellen Galinsky, the president of the Families and Work Institute, a nonprofit research organization. Ms. Galinsky says men, now more than women, feel caught between work and parenthood; her surveys show that 59 percent of men report experiencing some or a lot of work/life conflict, up from 35 percent in 1977.
Yet while Mr. Obama’s advisers like to think he is setting an example for fathers everywhere, he does, in fact, have more flexibility than most — he is, after all, the boss. Because he gets to “live over the store,” as he often says, he doesn’t have the stress of making that mad dash for the subway to get home in time to relieve the baby sitter. At home, he never has to fix the leaky faucet or take out the trash. And if he needs to go back to the office to finish up work late at night, all he has to do is walk downstairs.
It’s true we could all be spending more quality time with our children if we had a driver, a maid, a cook, a handyman and no commute. But we also don’t have the responsibility of working for 304 million cranky Americans. Yet, unlike some non-Presidential dads, Obama doesn’t claim “work stress” as a reason to avoid his family. So excuse me while I continue to enjoy the fantasy that this news story will completely change the perspective of every father in America. It’s a dream from which I really, really, really don’t want to wake up.