'Daddy Wars': Fathers Strike Back

ByABC News via logo
March 8, 2006, 11:20 AM

March 8, 2006 — -- Todd Findley couldn't talk the first time he was called to be interviewed for this story. 

At 11:30 Tuesday morning, he had just picked up sons Sean, 5, and Stewart, 4, from nursery school, strapped them into their car seats in the back of the minivan along with their 1-year-old brother, Austin, and was driving the kids back home for lunch.

Three hours later -- the laundry folded, the dishes washed, and the remote control back to a usable state (Austin is going through a "puking phase" right now) -- Findley was free to discuss the issue he had with the "Mommy Wars" segment on "Good Morning America" that day, during which working moms and workers without children debated fairness at the office.

"Society generally sees these things as mom issues, and they get addressed as mom issues," Findley said without a trace of bitterness. "I'm hearing moms this, moms that.  Well, there are dads out there doing it too."

Findley is among a small but growing number of stay-at-home dads, and one of many men -- and women -- asking, "What about the 'Daddy Wars?'"

Attitudes about the traditional roles of men and women when it comes to working and raising children are changing. As they do, men are actually experiencing more anxiety about balancing work and family than women, according to recent studies.

In 2002, the Families and Work Institute reported that while women felt about the same level of frustration when it came to balancing work and life over the last 25 years, men's frustration sharply rose -- from 34 percent of men in dual-earning couples reporting a conflict in 1977 to 54 percent in 2002.

"It's probably because their [men's] roles are newer," said Ellen Galinsky, president and co-founder of the Families and Work Institute. "They're less likely to have role models. When women first started working, they felt like they were pioneers and now I think you're seeing that feeling among men."

The institute also found that Generation X fathers spent significantly more time with their children than baby-boomer dads, and that overall, the amount of time men spent with their children each workday had increased by 1.2 hours since 1977 while the amount women spent with their children had remained the same.