Sunday, December 19, 2010

Daddy Shift

This book by Jeremy Adam Smith is really interesting. I know you wonder how I have time to read all these books I write about on the blog. I wonder too! However, I'm pretty sure this book (Jai bought it last year I think) is one I'd been reading for most of this year. I have a book in different locations - my bedside, near my stationary bike (doesn't get read often), living room for non-TV/computer day (doesn't get read often either), bathroom, car (rarely gets read, I think I've been reading "Under the Tuscan Sun" for 3-4 years!). I read parts of each one periodically & occasionally I finish one. So I was sick a few weeks ago AGAIN & taking naps on the weekends when Julia sleeps & I usually read a bit before I get drowsy (just like at night). However, I couldn't sleep long because of coughing so I kept reading this book & finally finished it.

The sub-title is How Stay-At-Home Dads, Breadwinning Moms, & Shared Parenting are Transforming the American Family. It's a non-fiction book, a series of case studies of different families in various locations around the U.S. It's a combination of anthropology, sociology & psychology, my 3 faves, describing how these families work together to support each other & care for children. JAS weaves in comparisons of how public policy in other countries has changed what parenting looks like for both men & women & their relationships with their children in a positive direction (usually). Both parents have opportunities to stay home for 6-12+ months with their young child, with support financially, culturally & employment-wise. I like the word OPPORTUNITY. That is what it is to take care of your child. I'm glad I had my 6 months with Julia, but full-time care for a child is not my calling.

Often I say to Jai how much I wished we lived in Spain, or now Finland is my new favorite, because of the family friendly parental leave practices & support for breastfeeding. I realized after I finished reading this book, that it definitely would be great to live in Spain as that is one of our life goals, but Finland is too cold for me. : ) However, the other realization is that change is happening in the U.S., slow change, but still happening. There are more men & women switching who stays home & cares for children & who goes to work outside the home. For those children, that will be normal, not non-traditional, so a new model is being constructed.

Read the book if you have a chance.