Trolling Trending SAHDs
trend – noun – a general direction in which something is developing or changing.
A recent article in The Atlantic trolls the recent trend pieces about the rise of SAHDs. The author first points out that SAHDs are still a microscopic share of households. The author then goes on to argue that when compared to other statistics measuring the contribution of men to primary care the increase in SAHDs is insignificant in the larger context of women being primary care givers. He does this by trotting out the rise of the single mother over the last half century and statistics showing women still make a larger contribution to primary care in households where both parents work. His essential argument that the contribution of SAHDs to the primary care in households is overhyped in the much larger context of all households.
Well, Duh. When you are less than 1% of a given population your contribution to changes within that population are going to probably be unmeasurable. The author’s graph clearly shows that men being the primary caregivers are clearly trending up and has been for the past decade and a half. What is new and what everyone is talking about is how SAHDs are becoming more visible and more acceptable. We would need a lot more SAHDs and a lot less single moms for us to really budge the needle for men’s share of primary care in the larger population. Things are tentatively headed in that direction but it is too soon to know if the increase in SAHDs will continue or reverse course. Pointing out SAHDs haven’t really changed anything for most women is like complaining your food hasn’t come the moment your waiter walks up and introduces himself. It may take a few more generations but I think your plate will eventually arrive.