In today’s New York Times, there is an article nestled into the bottom half of page one that reads:
“To Buy Children’s Gifts, Mothers Do Without”
The article goes on to describe how moms are making sacrifices this holiday season, and how the mom highlighted in the article “will go without the designer jeans she covets this season.”
What about dads, you might ask? Don’t we count? Don’t we sacrifice?
“In this economy, nearly everyone is forgoing indulgences, and many fathers will no doubt sacrifice this year to put toys under the tree. But figures suggest the burden is falling most heavily on women, particularly mothers…”
Let’s take a look at said statistics: women’s apparel was down 18.2% this October compared to last October, while men’s apparel has only decreased 8.3%. Notice these numbers are generalized to men and women, not moms and dads — so technically they are meaningless…
In a survey, “61% of mothers said they would shop less for themselves this year, compared with 56% of all women and 45% of all men.”
All men? Nowhere in the article is there mention of what percentage of DADS said they would shop less for themselves. Apparently dads have been lumped into the “all men” category.
Once again, nobody bothered to ask dad. Of course it’s not really about the numbers, it’s about the lack of equality and respect dads experience. The fact that the survey taken didn’t bother to include dad’s spending trends is just a cheap way to put “mom” on a pedestal. Honestly, I am sick of dads being treated like second class parents (in case you didn’t notice).
I can tell you that I don’t buy anything for myself anymore. This year I got myself a new winter hat and a scarf for when I shovel the inevitable & immense amounts of snow that will befall the frozen tundra that is Wisconsin.
More importantly, what about the dads & moms who go to work every day, sacrificing time away from their kids? What about the hours upon hours that we miss, that we can never reclaim? I’m sorry, but not being able to buy a pair of “designer jeans” doesn’t come close to what I sacrifice EVERY DAY as a working parent.
Not to mention the parents that sacrifice eating meals so there’s enough food for the kids. And what about the families who can’t even feed their kids three meals a day?
The article quotes the featured mom, Kristen Hunt, as saying “I want her (Kristen’s daughter) to look back and say, ‘even though they were tough times, my mom was still able to give me stuff.'”
What kind of message is this? On the cover of the NY Times no less?
Is giving kids “stuff” really what we want them to remember?
I would prefer that when my kids look back, they remember my spending as much time with them as I possibly could. The gift of my time, my attention and my listening to (and respecting) my children is what is most important — not an X-Box 360 or a Wii that will eventually become a dust collector.
Sure, my wife and I got the kids some “stuff” for Christmas. But it’s not the important stuff, or the stuff of fond memories — its just stuff.
During the holiday season, it certainly is timely to run an article on finances and spending, especially with what our world looks like right now. But if you’re the New York Times, get it right. Do your research and provide appropriate survey numbers for both parents, not just for the ones who don’t have a penis.
The real story here is not about money or toys. It’s about how these tough economic times are the perfect opportunity for parents to share the greatest gift of all with our kids — ourselves.
And remember, you are not alone…