The Fatherhood Bonus

Epistemic status: just feelings, n=1

Remember this? ny times business insider “Men earn more after having a kid, while women earn less.” This is two things rolled into one: 1. men earn more after having a kid, 2. women earn less after having a kid. At the time, my interpretation for both was “it’s the patriarchy again, our stereotypes are that dads are responsible but women should be in the home, ugh.” And that’s kinda still my interpretation of part 2 (women earn less); I don’t have firsthand experience so who knows.

But I do have firsthand experience of being a dad and having a kid, and I know I got way better at my job. So I’m wondering: what if dads get paid more because they’re (slightly, averaged over the population) better at work than they were before?

Here are some ways it’s playing out for me:

  1. I know more what I wanted to work on now
  2. I take more responsibility for my project(s)
  3. I worry less about how I am seen
  4. I value my time at work more (many days it is the easiest, best time of my day)
  5. I spend less time now worrying about “is this work Good for the world”

Which are causal? #4 definitely is. #1 and 5 probably are; my world is narrowing. I seriously can’t go off and become a monk or a Doctor Without Borders now, not that I was going to anyway, but now it’s just closed off so I don’t spend time thinking about it. #3 is probably just a coincidence for me; I could imagine some dads saying “I’m no longer Just A Career Guy, now I’m Dad too, so I don’t care if people don’t think I’m amazing!” but I was already not Just A Career Guy. Not sure about #2.

Well, whatever the reason is, it’s nice to be better at my job.

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