To the Editor:
I can attest to the strange looks and comments dads receive when seen with their children during weekday working hours. I had the privilege of being a full-time father for an all-too-short six-week period when my daughter was 4-to-5 months old. On more than one occasion, I was asked where her mother was or praised for "babysitting" my own child.
Until society accepts the idea of fathers as primary caregivers, men serving in these roles will face the stigma and isolation discussed in your article.
One step in the right direction would be eliminating the still prevalent pay disparity between men and women, which may drive some married couples to make stay-at-home decisions based on who has the lower income rather than on the best needs of the child.
Another improvement would be for more employers to value the parental responsibilities of their employees by supporting programs like paid parental leave and allowing flex-time and part-time work arrangements.
Rego Park, Queens
Dec. 22, 2004