Dads Need Our Support, Too
I know what they mean. They mean it's possible -- and it is -- for women, without the help of a man, to raise healthy and happy children.
But fathers -- specifically good fathers -- can have a powerfully positive impact on their children. And that impact often has nothing to do with money.
I know my children benefit greatly from having a father who is very involved in their day-to-day care. Actually, my husband does my two girls' hair better than I do. The time he spends combing their hair is priceless (and a lot less painful than when I do it).
And the fact is, men want to increase their involvement with their children. According to a new survey by the online job-searching site CareerBuilder.com, 42 percent of working fathers say they are willing to take a pay cut to obtain a job that affords them an improved balance of work and home.
More than two-thirds of working fathers are spending in excess of 40 hours a week at work, and 25 percent work more than 50 hours each week, according to CareerBuilder.com's "Men and Women at Work 2004" survey.
Even though 87 percent of working fathers earn more than their spouse or partner, four in 10 working fathers said they would relinquish the breadwinner role and stay at home with the kids if their spouse or partner earned enough for them to live comfortably.
To better manage personal and professional commitments, more working dads should take advantage of telecommuting and flexible work schedules, CareerBuilder.com suggests.
I have another suggestion: Let's stop using the term "deadbeat dads."
Is it really healthy to tell a child his or her dad is a deadbeat? I'm not advocating that fathers shouldn't be aggressively pursued to pay child support. But that pursuit shouldn't be all about the money.
It's important that children know their fathers are more than cash machines.
Michelle Singletary discusses personal finance Tuesdays on NPR's "Day to Day" program and online at www.npr.org. Readers can write to her at The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company