As I was scrolling through the babycenter posts this morning, I came across a thread that was written by one of the few fathers that are around on the community.
I’m a first time dad. [My wife] and I worked for over 8 years for our little [daughter] and we couldn’t be happier. However, as a parent that does a ton of googling and research on our parenting decisions, I’m so frustrated that everything is marketed and angled to moms.
It’s almost like we’re still in the 50s and the kids are the mom’s problem, cause [insert sarcastic tone] gosh darnit us menfolk have to work! [\tone]
I’d be a stay at home dad if I could. As it is, I’m thrilled that [my wife] can fill the [stay at home] parental role, but it kills me to leave them every day. Not that I need recognition or anything, I’m not looking for validation, I’d just like more parental blogs and advertisements to realize that it’s not just moms running to Babies “R” Us every few days to get a different tether because [their son or daughter] seemed a bit frustrated with [their] normal one last night. It’s not just moms that cuddle the baby to sleep.
Grr ok rant over.
I honestly had never given this much thought, but he is totally right! Fathers are playing a more active roll in the lives of their children than was the case half a century ago. It isn’t true, despite what you might think by reading through parenting forums, that all husbands/boyfiends are worthless with kids and don’t do anything other than work and play some video games once they’re home. Some, may just not be given a chance to help out.
Earlier today, I decided to do a quick wordpress search. I used “parenting” as a search term. Out of the first 25 blog posts that concerned parenting, 20 were written by mothers, 4 by fathers and 1 by a couple. Then, I went and surfed on the web a bit. The vast majority of pictures portraying babies, are of the child and his or her mother or of the two parents (um…ok, so dads don’t spend time alone with their little ones?). I also found three contests geared exclusively towards mothers. One of them was: win diapers for a year! (Oh wait, what? Why is it that only mothers can enter this contest? Don’t daddies change diapers too?). Some contests were geared towards a parent or guardian, but none towards solely dads.
Then, as I was googling Baby Einstein to motivate my son into doing tummy time (more on that in another post), I came across an article that I found to capture the spirit of what Gamerdadc was mentioning in his post. It’s called Parenting Advice: What Moms Should Learn From Dads.
Here are couple of excerpts that struck a cord:
My mother used to tell my father that he was a very good mother. […] In those days, “good mother” was the highest domestic achievement; to have called him a good father, given how low the bar was set, wouldn’t have done him justice.
The typical father spends about seven hours per week in “primary child care,” which doesn’t sound like a lot until you realize it’s more than twice as much as in 1965.
We talk about fathers like puppies tripping over their big paws, a portrait long mirrored in a culture in which Father Knows Least, from Fred Flintstone to Homer Simpson.
I write this as one who always knew that my husband would be the better parent of the two of us, able to slide, with joy and mischief, into our children’s world rather than drag them prematurely into ours.
It is a really interesting read and I highly suggest you read it. Reading it, reminded me to which point my partner, was an awesome dad. He is much calmer around our son when he is cranky, does the whole bedtime routine, usually knows what to do when I’m at wits end, plays with him on his days off so that I can sleep in, changes diapers AND kicks me out of the house for three hours once a week so that I can have some time to myself and he can spend some time alone with the baby. I realized that even though he may not do everything exactly as I do them, he still does everything great! I mean, we keep talking about motherly instincts and how sometimes, fathers are clueless. But I think we should start to see that fatherly instincts exist and that we have to accept that our partners will do things differently.
We have come a long way from the 50s, but there is still a ways to go. I’m lucky enough to live in a province that allows me to be on paid maternity leave for up to a year. Fathers can get from 3 to 5 weeks off (depending on the length of the mom’s leave) of paid parental leave. Plus, if the mother cannot or chooses not to take a whole year off, the dad can stay at home to finish the parental leave! But despite all this, fathers are still frowned upon when taking the weeks they are entitled to because just 30 years ago, when the bosses became fathers, they didn’t even have a day off when their wives gave birth.
Definitely food for thought.
Speaking of which, what are your thoughts on the subject?