In June 2008, Satoshi Kanazawa, is an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics, wrote a series of articles in the Psychology Today magazine called "Why Are Mothers Better Parents Than Fathers?"
In her articles Kanazawa goes to conclude that "Both paternity uncertainty and the higher fitness ceiling make fathers less committed parents than mothers, and this is why there are so many more deadbeat dads than deadbeat moms; very few women abandon or neglect their children. Ironically, it is the mother’s greater commitment to her children that allows the father to neglect them even more."
While psychologists and thinkers have from time to time supported the commitment and dedication of women or men, a number of others believe good parenting also has much to do with style. In 2011, when Amy Chua published her much-debated book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, she drew much criticism from all corners of the globe for her strict, dominating parenting style and her husband’s inclusive and supportive approach stood out as a sharp contrast.
While a number of famous people in history – from Mendeleev to Justin Bieber and many others – have credited their mothers with being the inspiration that has spurred them to such heights, does this make women naturally better parents than men?
The World Of Working Moms
Leading career consultants, The Ladders conducted a survey among working women. When asked about the most important factor about their work situation, 44% working mothers said it was “flexible working hours”, 29% chose the ability to work from home, about 20% chose convenient work hours, 5% thought generous maternity leave is important, and 2% chose on-site day care.
The top reason why women return to work after childbirth is to meet financial needs. The second most important reason why mothers return to work is because they enjoy their careers, says the study. While over 55% women think it is a quite an overwhelming challenge to excel at both the career and the family, 16% believe that they have prioritized their families and let their careers suffer due to such a choice. 13% women think that balancing both gets easier with time and another 13% believe that there is no conflict in managing both fronts. Only about 3% women think they would always prioritize their careers and let family suffer.
Most working mothers, says the study, receive support from their colleagues and coworkers. Over 42% reported supportive work environments, 24% said despite the support colleagues don’t often understand the situation of a working mother, 18% noticed no difference in the attitude of coworkers and 16% thought colleagues were resentful of their work schedules and competing priorities.
In the US, the number of stay-at-home fathers is increasing, but relatively remains small. According to the last count by the US Census Bureau there are over 66.3 million fathers in the US and there were over 105,000 stay-at-home fathers in 2012. The increase has been over up 78% from 2002. Men, however, make up about 3.6% of all at-home parents in the nation. Stay-at-home dads in the country care for 189,000 children. The increase in number of stay-at-home fathers is proven by the increase in membership of support groups. The National At-Home Dad Network has 2,600 members and has a presence in over 69 cities. Apart from this there are a number of local groups such as the Members of Triangle Dads, a 150-member at-home fathers' group in North Carolina, the 700-member NYC Dads Group - USA.
Statistics about stay-at-home fathers in the UK was recently revealed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Fathers make up about 10% of who stay-at-home parents in the country According to ONS data 227,000 men stay at home to look after their families as of 2012. This is a rise of 19,000 over 2011. Men could be trading places with their partners as bread-earners since male unemployment took a sharp upturn during the recession.
Single Parents In The US – A Comparison
In the US, by 2010 there are far more single mothers than fathers. According to the US census and other studies, about 84% of custodial single parents were found to be mothers and only 16% were fathers. Among the women who were custodial parents 45% were divorced or separated, 19% had remarried, 1.7% had been widowed and 34.2% were single parents by choice or had never married. Among the men who were custodial parents 57.8% were divorced or separated, 20% had remarried, about 1% were widowers and about 20.9% had chosen to stay single parents and had never been married.
Among the mothers who were single parents, 79.5% were employed - 49.8% worked full-time and 29.7% worked part-time. 90% of the single fathers were employed - 71.7% full time and 18.4% part-time. Among the custodial single mothers of the US, about 22% receive Medicaid, 23.5% receive food stamps, 12% receive public housing or rent subsidy assistance, and about 5% receive receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
39.1% of custodial single mothers are 40 years old or older and 54% of custodial single mothers raise one child while 46% raise two or more children.
Celebrity Single Moms
Sandra Bullock – Sandra Bullock and her husband Jesse James had begun an adoption process in 2006 in the state of New Orleans. Things seemed bleak when the couple divorced, but the actress went ahead with the adoption of a baby boy. The actress now raises Louis Bardo Bullock as a single mother.
Halle Berry – The Academy Award winning actress became the darling of the public when after two divorces Berry and Gabriel Aubry announced that they were expecting a child. Berry gave birth to a daughter Nahla Ariela Aubry in 2008 but the couple split in 2010. Berry and Aubry soon became emboiled in a highly-publicized custody battle which was settled in 2012 with Berry retaining custody of the child.
Kate Hudson – Despite her divorce with the rock star Chris Robinson in 2006, the couple have stayed close and cordial to ensure that their son Ryder is given all the attention the child deserves. In 2011, Hudson and Matthew Bellamy got engaged and gave birth to their son Bingham Hawn Bellamy. The couple's impending wedding has been a matter of much speculation.
Padma Lakshmi – Model celebrity Padma Lakshmi and Salman Rushdie divorced in 2007. In 2009, Padma gave birth to a daughter Krishna Thea Lakshmi. It was revealed that Adam Dell, the venture capitalist was the father, Padma Lakshmi and Dell went into battle over the custodial rights of the girl. In 2012, the both settled out of court.
Katie Couric – When Jay Monahan died in 1998, author-host Katie Couric started to raise her two daughters Ellie and Carrie (then aged 6 and 2). Apart from her career and family, Couric has been an exemplary champion of colon cancer awareness programs.
Denise Richards – In 2011, model-actress and TV show host Denise Richards adopted a baby girl who was named Eloise Joni. Richards has two other daughters Sam and Lola from her marriage to actor Charlie Sheen with whom she divorced in 2006. Richards and Sheen are reported to be on cordial terms now and to focus on their children.
Sheryl Crow – About a year after her separation from cyclist Lance Armstrong, singer Sheryl Crow made an announcement on her official website on May 11, 2007, that she had adopted two-week-old Wyatt Steven Crow. About three years later on June 4, 2010, Crow again announced the adoption of another boy, Levi James Crow.
Sushmita Sen – The 1994 Miss Universe and actress Sushmita Sen set a trend in India by adopting her daughters Renee and Alishah. In a country where the male female ratio tips heavily towards the male gender, Sen is considered a role model by single parents and champions the cause of the girl child.
January Jones – Xander Dane Jones, the son of American actress and model, January Jones is her regular companion in her Beverly Hills shopping sprees. The actress has not revealed the name of her 16 month old son's father and plans to focus on being an exemplary mother.
Liv Tyler – Model-actress Liv Tyler married musician Royston Langdon in 2003 and the couple welcomed their son, Milo William Langdon in 2004. The couple, however, split in 2008 and on cordial terms. The actress and the child have made New York City their home and Tyler enjoys motherhood immensely.