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Dad Involvement at an All Time High?

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The At-Home Dad Convention convened this weekend in Omaha, bringing together more than 50 dads who have taken on home front duties that have been traditionally reserved for moms. 

Is that really so odd any more?

It seems like every year I see the same stories: “Dads actually, get this, do stuff around the house — amazing!” But this year, the tone seems different, at least if you’re reading the Omaha World Herald.

The newspaper covered the convention and got into the nitty-gritty of life for a stay-at-home dad in modern day America. And it turns out he deals with the same issues a mom deals with: questions of whether it’s right to exit the work force, at-home isolation, family finances.

I’m not sure why this year feels different than previous years. Maybe the recession means more dads are out of work and doing extra around the house. Census figures put the number of at-home dads at 140,000 but experts in the article said the figure is more like 2 million (compared to 5.6 million at-home moms), if you count dads who earn a little dough somehow while taking the bulk of childcare duties. Plus there seems to be a new wave of fatherhood books on the market that talk about a broader role for dads. I can think of Michael Lewis’s “Home Game” and Michael Chabon’s new book of essays on what it means to be a man.

Has something happened for stay-at-home dads? Are they more accepted now than in years past? I don’t know. But one thing makes me think it’s possible.

 

In the article, there is not one mention of Mr. Mom. In the coverage of at-home dads, that counts as a miracle. And I can only hope it means more people are getting clued into the idea that dads performing their fatherly duties and helping to raise children are not, in fact, moms.

(photo: Omaha World Herald.)

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