This is a reply to the message from Sarah Pallas:
In the first case, the fact that people assume that males don't know how to
care for children is a sad indicator of an unqustionable truth: we don't, as
a rule, know as much as our wives or female partners. There is no value
judgement, however, necessarily implicit in assuming that a man caring for
a child is temporarily "babysitting". This is also most often the case.
In a recent conversation with my wife on the subject of why I felt inadequate
in caring for our baby I finally realized why it is so incredibly difficult
for me (and perhaps most men) to be instinctive when it comes to looking after
the little one: not only were we not raised with caregiving as a goal for
adulthood, we were raised to avoid it entirely. Boys are or were raised to
KNOW that babies were girl's stuff. And a
everybody knows that any man was raised that way. So even though people's
assumptions about your husband may be wrong, they are right most of the time.
It's sad, but true. It won't be until our children's generation that things get
better in this regard. Present day adult males (some) can think that things
should be a certain way, but we were programmed differently and, sadly, we
never will be able to go all the way, kno matter how hard we try, when it
comes to sharing "nesting" responsibilities.
The second instance you mention (a female postdoc) is a good example of a
FEMALE who was programmed from childhood and can't quite get over that either.
Both men and women are guilty.
Finally, hear hear to the comment that things won't improve until men are
ALLOWED to be responsible about their home lives; nowadays a child's illness
is simply the worst possible reason for a man to be late to work. This is