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Does Changing Diapers Make You Manly?

By Sierra Black |

Dude with diaper bagNewsweek explores the future of manhood in a lengthy feature this week. Is toting a diaper bag the new key to dudedom?

I sure hope so. Reading this article, there’s a compelling case for men taking on more of what has traditionally been “women’s work”, both at home and on the job. Blue-collar jobs traditionally done by men are disappearing, dual-income families are the norm, and if men don’t step up, everyone suffers.

On the other hand, if modern men can step up and redefine their gender the way women did in the 1970s, everyone wins.

As the Newsweek authors sum up their case:

If men embraced parental leave, women would be spared the stigma of the “mommy track”—and the professional penalties (like lower pay) that come along with it. If men were involved fathers, more kids might stay in school, steer clear of crime, and avoid poverty as adults. And if the country achieved gender parity in the workplace—an optimal balance of fully employed men and women—the gross domestic product would grow by as much as 9 percent, according to a recent study by the World Economic Forum.

There’s a huge win there for men, too. They get to do more of the awesome stuff us ladies take for granted: having close relationships with their kids, expressing their feelings, knowing where all the dishes go in the kitchen.

What do you think? Will diaper bags replace sports cars as the symbol of dude power in future generations?

Photo: jinglejammer

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About Sierra Black

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Sierra Black

Sierra Black lives, writes and raises her kids in the Boston area. She loves irreverence, hates housework and wants to be a writer and mom when she grows up. Read bio and latest posts → Read Sierra's latest posts →

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9 thoughts on “Does Changing Diapers Make You Manly?

  1. bob says:

    Does anyone find that equal parenting can also create relationship stress because the wife feels she is not doing her share unless she’s doing most of the work or the kids don’t run to her first for soothing when they are hurt or upset? Do you find that equal responsibility also means equal opinions on matters of child-raising, and therefore more conflict when approaches and philosophies inevitably differ?

  2. TC says:

    Bob-in my house of “equal parenting” there’s actually less stress involved because I’m not expected to do it all. If I can’t do my share, my husband is willing to pitch in and help (and vice versa), thus whatever needs to get done, gets done. Plus the children have two people they feel they can run to for love and support anytime, rather than just one nurturing person and one non-involved (like male coworkers of mine). With open communication, it’s actually easy to do “equal parenting” thing, even when ideas are different. I feel my husband and I are more of a team when it comes to parenting, and the reward is a happy family, not an overburdened mom and disconnected dad.

  3. Samantha says:

    bob, I know a lot of mothers who would feel that way. They say they want fathers to pitch in equally, but they don’t want to share the rewards. I personally am thrilled that my husband want to be an active, shared parent. It certainly stresses me less to know that I won’t have to do everything myself. We are generally a good parenting team and agree on most things, so I don’t worry about that.

  4. mbaker says:

    I don’t understand moms who micromanage their husbands’ efforts to look after their child(ren). I am a stay at home mom and I am so glad that my husband is eager and willing to share parenting duties when he comes home. I love watching them play together and watching our son go to his daddy when he’s upset or has a booboo. In fact, my husband’s excellent parenting skills make me love him more than I did before we had our son.

  5. Sarah says:

    Is there really a dad in this day and age who doesn’t change diapers?

  6. [...] week Newsweek was exploring the idea of a new macho man, one who changes diapers with as much confidence and authority as he runs board meetings or repairs [...]

  7. nd says:

    Re: Strollerderby’s question: “Does anyone find that equal parenting can also create relationship stress because the wife feels she is not doing her share unless she’s doing most of the work or the kids don’t run to her first for soothing when they are hurt or upset? Do you find that equal responsibility also means equal opinions on matters of child-raising, and therefore more conflict when approaches and philosophies inevitably differ?”

    I can imagine mothers being like that. I think those of us women who grew up in 1950s style homes may have some programming that has to get pulled-out and replaced to do equal parenting, equal-focus-on-career with men, but I think it is very worth the trouble to do this because I think actually you are giving your child one of the greatest gifts you can when you model for him/her how to get through conflict due to differing opinions, approaches, philosophies, etc., which, as you point out, are inevitable in any two people?

    I think the tension in equal parenting homes

  8. nd says:

    Whoops, accidentally cut myself off above.

    I think any tension in equal parenting homes is not to be feared but just expected as normal in an equal-status relationship and worked through. Almost anything can be negotiated and on some things you can just “agree to disagree.” After all, the child has two parents, not just one.

  9. nd says:

    From the child’s perspective, I mean. They see themselves as having two parents, not just one.

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