Let’s start with the good news: when the media talk about at-home parents, they often act as if there is no other parent in the household. Pieces about “opt-out” women jumping out of the workforce rarely not the partners still logging in hours at the office, and article about at-home dads usually note in passing that there is a mom out there doing the breadwinning.
So the Marie Claire piece on at-home dads and breadwinning moms (arrestingly MSNBC subtitle: “Is this the new status symbol for alpha women?”) gets props for at least framing at non-traditional family roles through the eyes of the woman, for a change. Except that the piece, once it gets going, doesn’t actually look at that hard at those alpha women, instead choosing to focus on what — to modern magazine editors — the great irony of an at-home dad.
It’s almost not worth summarizing the piece, which fails to look at all closely on what the impact of at-home dads are on the women in their lives. There are all kind of important questions that can be asked of those women, but I didn’t see that any of them actually got asked. (In fact, a better take on this was done, um, 8 years ago, when Fortune put “The New Trophy Husband” on its cover.)
(I also want to give props to the Today Show — which based a segment on the Marie Claire article — for featuring all-around good-guy at-home dad Jason Sperber in their piece — the video is below — even if the show failed to really unearth anything new. I’ve lost count, but I think this might be the fourth Today Show piece on at-home dads this year, and, taken together, they show a real inability to do much other than repeatedly scratch the same surface, again and again.)