Superdads

How Fathers Balance Work and Family in the 21st Century

274 pages

1 b/w figure and 4 tables illustrations

June, 2013

ISBN: 9780814749166

$26

Paper

Also available in

Author

Gayle Kaufman is Professor of Sociology at Davidson College in North Carolina.

All books by Gayle Kaufman

“Look!  There in the playground -- with the stroller and diaper bag! It's Superdad! Yes, it's Superdad—the most involved fathers in American history.  And with this careful, compassionate and also critical group portrait, Gayle Kaufman has finally told their story.  If you think men aren't changing—or if you think they somehow get neutered if they are changing—you need to read this book.”—Michael Kimmel, author of Guyland 
 
In an age when fathers are spending more time with their children than at any other point in the past, men are also facing unprecedented levels of work-family conflict. How do fathers balance their two most important roles—that of father and that of worker? In Superdads, Gayle Kaufman captures the real voices of fathers themselves as they talk about their struggles with balancing work and family life.
 
Through in-depth interviews with a diverse group of men, Kaufman introduces the concept of “superdads”, a group of fathers who stand out by making significant changes to their work lives in order to accommodate their families. They are nothing like their fathers, “old dads” who focus on their traditional role as breadwinner, or even some of their peers, so-called “new dads” who work around the increasing demands of their paternal roles without really bucking the system.  In taking their family life in a completely new direction, these superdads challenge the way we think about long-held assumptions about men’s role in the family unit.
 
Thought-provoking and heartfelt, Superdads provides an overview of an emerging trend in fatherhood and the policy solutions that may help support its growth, pointing the way toward a future society with a more feasible approach to the work-family divide.

Reviews

  • "The voices of superdads come alive as Kaufman describes the work-family challenges faced by men in the 21st century. Superdads is the most articulate and insightful discussion of issues facing contemporary fathers that I have seen in many years."

    —Scott Coltrane, author of Family Man

  • "“Look! There in the playground—with the stroller and diaper bag! It's Superdad! Yes, it's Superdad—the most involved fathers in American history. And with this careful, compassionate and also critical group portrait, Gayle Kaufman has finally told their story. If you think men aren't changing—or if you think they somehow get neutered if they are changing—you need to read this book.”

    —Michael Kimmel, author of Guyland

  • "The gender revolution has stalled—but not stopped. Read Superdads on a day when, down in the dumps, you think nothing has changed. Kaufman’s fascinating interviews show how the nurturing father ideal has changed men’s lives, making many willing to shift work responsibilities to meet family caregiving needs."

    —Joan C. Williams, author of Reshaping The Work-Family Debate

  • “Recommended”

    —B. Weston, Choice

  • "'The workplace still sees men as men and not as fathers,' Gayle Kaufman, a professor of sociology at Davidson College, notes in her study of emerging new fathers, Superdads.  If managers typically see the men working for them as men, Prof. Kaufman sees them as three distinct types of fathers, all trying to have greater involvement with their children than fathers of previous generations.  Those deeper relationships lead to work-life balance issues that each one of them must resolve differently."

    —Harvey Schachter , The Globe and Mail

  • "Superdads is a welcome addition to the expanding collection of rich qualitative studies that bring to life men's everyday joys and struggles as fathers. In particular, Kaufman provides an empirically grounded account of men's intersecting aspirations and responsibilities as fathers and workers. This book will appeal to a wide range of social scientists interested in learning directly from fathers how they perceive and handle work-family conflicts."

    —William Marsiglio, American Journal of Sociology