Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A New Generation of Dads?

Cindy LaFerle, who's son is just off to college, said that there is so much more to read that debunks the stereotype of the Perfect Patient Always Smiling Mother for moms today than there was when she was raising her son.

What about for dads?

It seems like more dads than ever before are involved with the day-to-day rearing of their children, and there are certainly dozens of dad-oriented books on the parenting shelves these days.

That said, our publisher told us that it is still overwhelmingly women who buy books (and presumably who read them). And the truth is James is often -- almost always -- the only dad at the Music Together classes, the only dad at the park, and only one of a handful (one hand only) of dads at the grocery store with the kids.

And there's a vibe that a lot of working moms or work-from-home moms feel at school, a vibe that I've probably given out sometimes to other moms too (why? years of counseling may be needed to answer this question). It's the Where Have You Been Vibe, the Why Are You Working and Sending Your Husband in Your Stead Vibe. As if having the male parent there is not good enough.

So, here's the question: ARE dads more involved with their children than they used to be? When someone asks you what you do would you say "I'm a dad and ... " Or are we still locked in roles that some argue are predetermined by our biology?


Anonymous said...

My husband, who I'm going to buy this book for and hope that he takes the hint (!!!), doesn't do shit around the house or for our kids. I have a friend whose husband left her and first she was devistated but then, guess what? she is so much happier without him and now he's actually SPENDING time with there kids because he has to or he won't see them. Be honest - who cooks and who cleans and who gets up in the middle of the night in your house? I don't think anything's changed.

ShariMacD said...

Re: "Be honest - who cooks and who cleans and who gets up in the middle of the night in your house? I don't think anything's changed."

So, I have to ask: What is the key to making this change? Let's say, for sake of argument, from the woman's perspective? I suppose if the man wants to change, he will. How -- short of divorce -- does the woman help to bring about that change? How can she? Or is that a question for the therapist's office? :)

Elrena said...

All right, hopefully I won't get booed off the comment trail for this one, but in answer to the question:

My husband cooks. I do more of the cleaning, but then again, he takes out the trash and deals with the litter pans. And we both get up in the middle of the night with our children.

I don't know if it's a new generation/new man thing (we're both -- just barely! -- still in our 20s) or if my husband is just awesome, but really, my husband is awesome. :)

I would not be able to have anything even remotely resembling a writing life if not for him...and I don't think Mama, PhD would even exist!