Free to Be Fathers?

Home Game
An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood

Michael Lewis
W. W. Norton & Co., $23.95, 192 pp.


The Daddy Shift
How Stay-at-Home Dads, Breadwinning Moms, and Shared Parenting Are Transforming the American Family
Jeremy Adam Smith
Beacon Press, $25.95, 256 pp.

I was born in 1973, a year after the release of Free to Be You and Me, the children's album that celebrated individual freedom with the liberating message that we could all become whatever we wanted to, regardless of gender. That message was reinforced by my parents, unreconstructed Catholic hippies determined to defy traditional gender stereotypes. And, although I never really took to playing with dolls, and frequently managed to turn my Legos into weapons, I did take to heart the lessons of “Housework,” Carol Channing's classic monologue in Free to Be You and Me, which reminded us that “nobody smiles doing housework except the ladies you see on TV,” and enjoined little boys to grow up into husbands who share the burden.

I grew up to become such a husband, predisposed to share domestic work and child-rearing with my wife. When our second son was born, I took a paternity leave from my teaching position at Cornell—the first father on our faculty to benefit from Cornell's generous...

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About the Author

Eduardo Moisés Peñalver is the Allan R. Tessler Dean of the Cornell Law School. He is the author of numerous books and articles on the subjects of property and land use law.