The U.S. Government thinks so, too. I was surprised to find that my duties as a stay-at-home dad are considered “child care,” according to the Census Bureau. But that’s not all: “Designated parent” is defined as the mother, unless the child lives with the father in a single-parent household. And if the father works and the mother stays at home with the kids? Well, they don’t really count that time at all as “child care” — it’s not really considered in the equation.
Not to mention, this gem from the report:
If the mother is not available for an interview, the father of the child can give proxy responses for her.
Lucky us, right?
This bias leads the report to come to conclusions like: of the 63 percent of preschoolers who are in a regular care arrangement (regular basis, at least once per week), 4.2 percent are cared for by moms and 15.2 percent are cared for by dads. Amazing, right? This would make you think stay-at-home dads are on the rise, but it’s thay way because they don’t count the time spent by moms in your standard married couple families.
As a father who puts in a ton of effort and time into the my kids’ lives, this kind of thinking and “official” reporting only helps to solidify our society’s views of fathers and men in general. It’s time for the bias and gender roles to end.