Current research on fatherhood often focuses on minimal changes men have made in their participation in family life. Anna Dienhart argues that men have indeed made significant changes to their family roles, but those changes are often masked in existing discourses on fatherhood. In Reshaping Fatherhood, Dienhart's qualitative study of 18 shared parenting couples explores both men's and women's resourcefulness and shows how these couples have deliberately co-created alternatives to traditional parenting roles. Using these narrative accounts, Dienhart offers several options for creating a family structure that allows both mothers and fathers to participate actively in parenting.
Dienhart emphasizes that “tag-team parenting,” a common technique that couples use to juggle the responsibilities of a hectic family life, relies on both the interchangeability of parental tasks as well as the specialization by preference. Dienhart compares shared parenting to a dance that demands continuous revision of the perceptions and activities of fatherhood and motherhood. She challenges family researchers to move beyond deficit and comparative model perspectives about the complexities of gendered family life as she offers alternative ideas about division-of-labor patterns, men's relational capabilities in child care, the preeminence of men's provider role, and traditional notions about gender and politics in families.
This timely book is ideal for professionals and students in family studies, sociology of the family, family psychology, and gender studies.
Chapter 3: Diversity of Styles in Sharing Parenting
Diversity of Styles in Sharing Parenting
Dan and Liz: Interchangeable Parenting Partners
Dan and Liz, over 15 years of marriage, have co-created a sharing pattern that intersects their family life and their career work. Both Dan and Liz are in their mid-30s and work in the same human services field. Until recently, they job-shared, both working half-time in the same job. They came to their job-sharing arrangement before they began having children, deciding early on that if they planned and budgeted carefully, they could live on one salary. This decision yielded the potential to give them both equal time for family life, an idea and practice to which they are firmly committed. Over the years, they have arranged their work commitments ...