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X-Treme Dads
January 16, 2005 10:52 AM   Subscribe

An in-depth profile of Generation X dads. As one myself, I think it gets most things right. However, if you want to take paternity leaves and go home early and spend more time w/family, it helps to have money to actually do that!
posted by braun_richard (29 comments total)

 
Thanks for this. I've printed it out at work, to look at later when the children are in bed. If I don't fall asleep first, ha ha.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:00 PM on January 16, 2005


Good God. I didn't even realize I was called a "Generation X Dad". The term is probably the only thing about me that's still cool.
posted by Holly at 12:11 PM on January 16, 2005


I didn't take paternity leave (my wife is a stay-at-home mom and we couldn't afford it), but I'm a pretty involved dad. My parents were somewhere between the traditional Cleavers home and what's outlined here, and while we're still somewhat traditional, there's still a lot more sharing of responsibility than there was in either of the homes where we were raised. And the evening time that I don't get to spend with my daughter is spent on congregational activities, not my "day job". Maybe I'm the Useful Dad mentioned on the last page. But you don't have to do 50% of the housework to be an involved father who does his share of the child-rearing. Parenting is not just cooking dinner.

The researcher in the article who talked about the continuity rather than a sudden jump is dead-on. And it occurs to me that perhaps the concept of the uninvolved breadwinner-only father is an artifact of the 20th century: US fathers in the previous century may not have washed dishes, but is it fair to say that they didn't participate in the raising of their kids?
posted by elvolio at 12:28 PM on January 16, 2005


How many night have I spent in that bar and not realized that those guys were meeting? Weird...

Good article, though!
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 12:44 PM on January 16, 2005


Part of what I don't like about this story is how unquestioningly it buys into the cult of obsessive yuppie parenting. I'll know I've made a mistake with my son if he's so lacking in internal resources and self-direction as to be moping around the house because I'm working late.
posted by MattD at 2:34 PM on January 16, 2005


Somewhere, Doug Coupland is rolling his eyes and wishing he'd never referenced that chapter in Class.
posted by grimley at 2:56 PM on January 16, 2005


36 is genX? I must be getting old....
posted by scarabic at 3:45 PM on January 16, 2005


(up to 39 is GenX, from what i've read--1965 babies are the oldest members)
posted by amberglow at 3:47 PM on January 16, 2005


how unquestioningly it buys into the cult of obsessive yuppie parenting

Wanting to spend evenings home with your kids instead of at work is "cultish"?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 4:02 PM on January 16, 2005


i think it's the overanalyzing and navel-gazing of it all that makes it yuppie--boomer even.
posted by amberglow at 4:12 PM on January 16, 2005


Fuck you, Gen X parents. The internet is being polluted with images of your spawn.

And discussion of its poop.
posted by breath at 4:17 PM on January 16, 2005


What are those of us who are in our late 20's? I don't feel too Gen-Y...
posted by ph00dz at 4:40 PM on January 16, 2005


if you want to take paternity leaves and go home early and spend more time w/family, it helps to have money to actually do that!

It doesn't take more money, it takes spending less. I spend very little, so I don't have to work like a maniac to support myself, my wife and my four month old kid. I see the little guy all the time.
posted by recurve at 4:59 PM on January 16, 2005


Dads of any age are welcome to spend as much quality time with their kids as they want, as far as I'm concerned, but must they talk about and analyze it so much? This article read like an episode of Thirtysomething.
posted by Oriole Adams at 5:59 PM on January 16, 2005


i think it's the overanalyzing and navel-gazing of it all that makes it yuppie--boomer even.

Damn straight. No matter to which marketing demographic you belong, fucking get over yourself. And parents-- shut up about your kids. Your kids are interesting to you, your spouse and your parents. That's it. If you want to tell me about your kids, I reserve the right to tell you about my bowel movements.

Articles about parenting are so tiresome. The challenges of modern parents are for shit. Parenting was probably last truly challenging when you had to worry about giant predators carrying the child off. At least paleolithic peoples didn't have writing, so the couldn't pretend to be important and bore other cavemen with articles/blogs about parenting. I wish I lived in those times. I would break the skulls of people who wanted to masturbate in public over the fact that they have functioning testes.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:11 PM on January 16, 2005


Amen, recurve.

But yeah, I couldn't get past the first page of this boring non-tear jerker (tear retainer?), even though as a 35 year old bourgeois father it's all about me.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 6:13 PM on January 16, 2005


I would break the skulls of people who wanted to masturbate in public over the fact that they have functioning testes.

Real men don't post their impotent fantasies to weblogs.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 6:37 PM on January 16, 2005


up to 39 is GenX, from what i've read--1965 babies are the oldest members

I refuse.
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:38 PM on January 16, 2005


Make way for the Rubber Playground Generation.
posted by HTuttle at 6:53 PM on January 16, 2005


Articles about parenting are so tiresome.

Then don't freakin read them. Is that not good enough? You want all the subjects that you find tiresome removed from all media so that they don't disturb you? Suffrin jaysus.

If people bore you with their talk about parenting, they're not committing some specialized sort of sin, they're just being boring. They'd probably likewise be boring about their hiking or reality TV or whatever else would consume their time if children didn't.

But you insist that all other people stop talking about being parents -- except, as you say, among spouses and their parents. Why? Because the smell of it might trouble your sensitive nostrils? Because it's so vulgar and bourgeois compared to your own no-doubt-always-thrilling conversations?

Might I ask you do to do what you ask parents to do and fucking get over yourself?
posted by argybarg at 7:02 PM on January 16, 2005


cripple fight!!!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:08 PM on January 16, 2005


OK, I managed to skim the entire thing.

We have a cute story to start, some disagreeing experts, and some more cute stories.

This article is crap. No position, no news, no information. Total dead loss. Filler for a Sunday magazine edition of the paper.

I think it gets most things right. But it doesn't say anything?! All it does is quote some cherry-picked fathers and a few sociologists who dispute each other's conclusions.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:12 PM on January 16, 2005


"Fuck you, Gen X parents. The internet is being polluted with images of your spawn."

Step off, man. We invented the obsessive-masturbatory model of the Internet as you know it today. And if you don't give proper respect to us and our right to discuss the defecation habits of our darling, precious spawn with the entire online universe, we'll just take it back, and all y'all can go back to gopher and newsgroups. Yeah, see how you like it then, pal.
posted by jscalzi at 8:16 PM on January 16, 2005


Long years of reading newspapers have made me thoroughly cynical about this sort of article, where a few personal stories are miraculously transformed into a 'trend'. And this particular article is one of those perennial favourites: 'The Rise of the New Man: How Today's Generation-Xers are Putting Family Before Career' -- to be followed, a few weeks later, by 'Where Have All the New Men Gone? How Today's Generation-Xers are Putting Career Before Family'.

If you really want to persuade me that 'today's young fathers' are rejecting fast-track careers in order to spend more time with their families, show me how tomorrow's business leaders are all going to be gay men or childless women.
posted by verstegan at 2:12 AM on January 17, 2005


Real men don't post their impotent fantasies to weblogs.

But they post their critique of impotent fantasies? Your challenge of my manhood is meaningless to me. If I were a caveman, I'd poop in your mouth. Then I'd think about dragging your sister off by her hair, but I wouldn't because she's too fat and it wouldn't be worth the effort.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:16 AM on January 17, 2005


Quality pops are good. Congratulating such is good. Seven page feel-good stories masquerading as longitudinal analyses of fatherhood aren't so good. Caveman-themed trolls are usually entertaining. Sincere responses to such bring delight.
posted by jungturk at 9:11 AM on January 17, 2005


Meh. Who knew I'd be the trend setter for putting my kids before my career? Now, if I can only come up with that tuition payment for my oldest son next summer, all that quality time will have been worth it.
posted by Doohickie at 11:00 AM on January 17, 2005


I am Exhausted Dad.

And yeah, I didn't like hearing about kids and parenting before I became a dad either. The thing is - that's best avoided by not going into MeFi discussions of kids and parenting.
posted by stinkycheese at 4:30 PM on January 17, 2005


"Fuck you, Gen X parents. The internet is being polluted with images of your spawn."

Jeez, I'd only just learn't that boomers were a burdern on resources.
I thought I'd have a few more years to wait...
posted by fullysic at 5:12 PM on January 17, 2005


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