In case you don’t really get what the “Fatherhood Bonus” is, check out a recent New York Times article “How One Silicon Valley CEO Masters Work-Life Balance.”

Don’t get your hopes up: It’s not a story about, say, Katrina Lake. It’s a story about Chris O’Neill, of Evernote, who—the Times proclaims—“makes a list every night, stays fit, blocks out his workweek by theme and listens to his children.”

Wait, he listens to his own kids?? That does sound like a super dad! Tell me more, NYT!

The “fatherhood bonus” is the inverse of the “motherhood penalty.” When women become mothers, they spend their lives having to prove loyalty to employers or kids again and again and again. Nothing is good enough, because you have to be totally devoted to your kids to be a “good mom” and totally devoted to your work to be a “good employee.”

Men don’t have this. When they take an afternoon off work to go to a kids’ baseball game, everyone swoons at what a “great dad” they are. They are lauded as superheros if they volunteer for anything at school.

Imagine for a moment the reaction to a profile on Marissa Mayer that said she “listens to her kids” and spends Saturdays with them.

But here’s the most annoying line of the Times piece: “Mr. O’Neill, 45, exercises regularly, sleeps seven hours a night, devotes Saturdays to his children and even gardens. Feel inadequate? Maybe you should stop reading.”

First off, no, I don’t feel inadequate. You know why? I BIRTHED TWO HUMAN BEINGS IN ADDITION TO ALL OF THAT.

Amy Nelson of the Riveter penned an amazing rebuttal to this horrible piece in Forbes that you should go read right now. A snippet: “How does all this magic happen?

…The center of the story revolved around what O’Neill does in his masterfully balanced life and makes no mention of the help of anyone else. A quick check on Google reveals that he has a wife. Given O’Neill’s many successes and demands, I imagine his wife (and imagination is what it takes given the lack of mention of her in the piece) is a big part of how he manages to “have it all.”…

…The Times asked if we, the readers, “feel inadequate” about O’Neill’s habits to manage work-life balance…the paper’s real question is whether we feel inadequate about O’Neill’s resources…”

Do better, New York Times.

Onto questions:


Sarah Lacy

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