I'm glad I'm a mom in this era. My husband isn't afraid to do the laundry, the dishes, take care of my daughter and generally help out a whole lot more than my Dad or his Dad did. That being said, I just spent some time thinking about how differently men and women view who cares for the children...on the whole.
While more men are taking an active role in child care and adjusting their work schedules to be more available. They are often not the ones who are taking on the primary roles. Who sets the daycare/nanny schedule, who packs the majority of the lunches, who lays out the clothes each night, who makes sure to coordinate the dr's appts with school schedules, who makes the dr's appts? The answer for most of these questions in the families I know is mommy. While I couldn't work and get everything else in life done without my husband's flexibility at work, he does none of the day-to-day details unless I ask. It doesn't even occur to him that they exist.
I was also speaking with a reporter who is doing a story on whether people are cutting back on their nannies in this economy. It ocurred to me that of the people I knew who had nannies, they would absolutely cut back if the mom was laid off. If the dad was laid off, however, that nanny would keep her job unless financial circumstances got dire...and as most of my friends are savers that would be a while. So why is it that if a mom isn't working she is expected to take care of the children - it would become her job. Why isn't the the same expected of the dad?
I still am really glad that I'm a mom in 2009, not 1959. But it seems we still have a long way to go to achieve equality in child rearing. I'm not assigning blame to women or men - both need to do better here. I am just observing what I see in the families I know.