The Daddy Shift - How Stay-at-Home Dads, Breadwinning Moms, and Shared Parenting Are Transforming the American Family
The Daddy Shift: How Stay-at-Home Dads, Breadwinning Moms, and Shared Parenting Are Transforming the American Family
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A revealing look at stay-at-home fatherhood-for men, their families, and for American society
It's a growing phenomenon among American families: fathers who cut back on paid work to focus on raising children. But what happens when dads stay home? What do stay-at-home fathers struggle with-and what do they rejoice in? How does taking up the mother's traditional role affect a father's relationship with his partner, children, and extended family? And what does stay-at-home fatherhood mean for the larger society?
In chapters that alternate between large-scale analysis and intimate portraits of men and their families, journalist Jeremy Adam Smith traces the complications, myths, psychology, sociology, and history of a new set of social relationships with far-reaching implications. As the American economy faces its greatest crisis since the Great Depression, Smith reveals that many mothers today have the ability to support families and fathers are no longer narrowly defined by their ability to make money-they have the capacity to be caregivers as well.
The result, Smith argues, is a startling evolutionary advance in the American family, one that will help families better survive the twenty-first century. As Smith explains, stay-at-home dads represent a logical culmination of fifty years of family change, from a time when the idea of men caring for children was literally inconceivable, to a new era when at-home dads are a small but growing part of the landscape. Their numbers and cultural importance will continue to rise-and Smith argues that they must rise, as the unstable, global, creative, technological economy makes flexible gender roles both more possible and more desirable.
But the stories of real people form the heart of this book: couples from every part of the country and every walk of life. They range from working class to affluent, and they are black, white, Asian, and Latino. We meet Chien, who came to Kansas City as a refugee from the Vietnam War and today takes care of a growing family; Kent, a midwestern dad who nursed his son through life-threatening disabilities (and Kent's wife, Misun, who has never doubted for a moment that breadwinning is the best thing she can do for her family); Ta-Nehisi, a writer in Harlem who sees involved fatherhood as "the ultimate service to black people"; Michael, a gay stay-at-home dad in Oakland who enjoys a profoundly loving and egalitarian partnership with his husband; and many others. Through their stories, we discover that as America has evolved and diversified, so has fatherhood.
Keep Up to Date with Jeremy Adam Smith on the Daddy Dialectic blog
the book video for Jeremy Adam Smith's The Daddy Shift
In the Media
Jeremy Adam Smith's posts on Beacon Broadside
Jeremy Adam Smith
speaks with Robin Young on NPR's Here and Now
with Jeremy Adam Smith on Salon.com
a father's day feature with Jeremy Adam Smith in the San Francisco Chronicle
Review mothering - May 15, 2009
“His investigations are very well researched, and he's pursued them with a rigorous intellectual integrity that makes his arguments engagingly persuasive. The result is an impressive book that even the childless should read, for at essence, The Daddy Shift
is not just about stay-at-home dads, but about the changing roles of men and women in society.”
Review Body + Soul - June 1, 2009
“Smith's book is a gentle but persistent appeal to get beyond all those preconceived notions and make the choices that work best for ourselves and our families.”
"Jeremy Adam Smith writes so well and so honestly about his love of staying home with his son, about the economics of his family life, and about the politics of our nation at large. Whoever doesn't already think the public and the domestic are linked needs to read his work."
—Miriam Peskowitz, author of The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars and co-author, The Daring Book for Girls
"Forty years ago, a man who wanted to share child care equally with his wife would have been called 'deviant,' and a wife who wanted him to would have been condemned as an 'unnatural' mother. The Daddy Shift shows how far we have come and how much we have to gain by completing this revolution in marriage and parenthood."
—Stephanie Coontz, author of Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage
"The Daddy Shift skillfully melds factual and historical data with a style that brings to life these important issues of family, parenting, and fatherhood."
—Shira Tarrant, Professor of Women's Studies at California State University, Long Beach, author, When Sex Became Gender
"Jeremy Adam Smith says what I wish I could about the politics of fatherhood and what it means to be a dad dedicated to equity, change, and social justice for our children and for all children."
—Jason Sperber, blogger, Rice Daddies
"Most books about fatherhood work from the outside in, from big structural changes to their impact on new dads. It's far more difficult to work from the inside out, to locate your own experiences in those larger patterns. Like William Blake's 'world in a grain of sand,' Jeremy Adam Smith's book invites readers to identify with the mundane, and then slowly expands the frame to reveal the bigger picture. The Daddy Shift is impassioned and insightful, careful and compassionate."
—Michael S. Kimmel, author of Guyland and Manhood in America: A Cultural History
"The Daddy Shift is a major contribution to a growing field. Both Jeremy Adam Smith's research and his personal observations cast valuable light on a topic that's vital to us all, no matter our gender or whether we parent."
—Lisa Jervis, founding editor of Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture
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