Fatherhood February 11 , 2013
- Part of reproductive labour has to do with reproducing a new generation of labour
as well as sustaining the current generation.
- Reproductive labour is difficult to talk about because it is invisible. Very often we
take for granted the knowledge and skills needed to undergo reproductive labour.
There is no formal training for this.
- In heterosexual relationships, being a father was not a primary focus either for the
father himself or for scholars interested in reproductive labour, until recently.
- Two thorny issues
o Reproductive labour
o Domestic violence
- Obama held a special celebration on father’s day to deliver a speech. He lives right
above the office and is able to be there for his children. He felt the weight of his own
father’s absence throughout his childhood, so he wants to be there for his children.
- It is easy to father a child, but it is not easy to be a father.
Film – Fatherhood USA
- It was not unusual for him to put 11-12 hour days in on a regular basis.
- There were times when he would leave early because of family issues, but he was
very quiet about it.
- They relied on a live-in caregiver because both parents had strenuous time
- He put a lot of effort into trying to find a job once he was laid off. He became the
caregiver of the kids while he was unemployed.
- Very few dads were out there Monday-Friday taking his children out. He felt he had
a lot of explaining to do even though nobody was asking any questions. During
unemployment he felt he inhabited a woman’s world, bringing into question his self-
esteem. Referred to himself as “Mr. Mom”
- His father’s career caused him to miss Bart’s high school and college graduation,
along with his siblings’ graduations.
- Whereas his father chose to spend time away from the home, Bart chose to spend
more time with his kids.
- His wife had more time to work later because Bart was at home.
- Conflicts arose between him and his wife because the kids need to go to bed early,
although his wife comes home late and wants to spend time with her kids.
- Works 3 days on, 3 days off. Rotates between working nights or days.
- It is easy to absorb himself in work for 12 hours and sleep all day. Many times when
he would get home his kids would be getting ready for school and his wife would be
getting ready for work.
- His wife had a full time job, came home and did all of the things that mothers do.
o She felt like she was a single mother at times because her husband would be
gone for 3 days when working nights and she wouldn’t see him.
o After being promoted she expected more help around the house from Don. Fatherhood February 11 , 2013
- He did not think he played a role besides being a provider for his family. He may not
have had the time to be together as a family but at least he was being the
o He believed his wife should play the role in bringing up his daughters.
- Once his wife mentioned that there was an issue, he began to play more of a role in
the family. He began to give up sleep in order to help his daughter do better in
- His daughters were trying to get more attention because he was absent in the home
- He believed that if his job ever came into conflict with his family life, he would do
- He felt that after having three kids there wasn’t much time for anything.
- He had to take his daughter to the doctor frequently. His supervisor understood but
his coworkers were not as understanding. They believed that his wife should get
away from work to take his daughter to the doctor.
- In many traditions, the man is the ruler of the house. He always thought that he
would do many things for his wife when he was married.
- There was a program through his work that taught men how to care for their
children. The men that went to the program were excited and glad that the service
- He was teased because whenever something happened with his family, he was the
one who was always called and who always went. They felt that the wife should be
the one to do such things.
- He changed many gender roles and did many things around the house. He did not
have the luxury of having his wife at home when he gets home with premade dinner.
- His wife did not appreciate the things that he did (cook dinner, clean the house).
o She thinks that she does a lot and nobody thanks her.
- If he did not have kids, he may have finished college and became a workaholic.
- They achieved balance because they alternated afternoons so they could both spend
time with the kids.
- Every second there is something to do. Fathers didn’t realize how much work there
was to do.
- Others said it was fun for them to spend time with their kids, and they thought that
certain aspects of it (changing diapers) were harder than they really were.
- It is a source of surprise that men fall in love with their children. Compassion and