Historically, fathers have gotten a bad rap. The evolution of equality in parenting and the workplace (and we’re not quite there yet) aside, there are always two sides to every story. As a mother who was once a child with less-than-desirable stepfathers and no knowledge of my biological father, one might wager that my views on fathers and how men have typically filled this role in general aren’t all that positive.
Years ago, I was that jaded young woman. Through the healing hands of time and ultimately the societal change in roles for men as fathers, I have come to know many an excellent dad, their lifestyles as parents undefined by their gender. I see modern-day fathers in various forms. The concepts of traditional married “breadwinners” and “disciplinarians” in families are no longer designated only to men, “the master of the house.”
Single or married, externally employed or stay-at home, an adoptive or step-parent, regardless of sexual orientation … men in all situations and of all backgrounds are more than capable of being caregivers to children — even those facing physical or psychological challenges. Psychological research across families from all ethnic backgrounds suggests that a fathers’ affection and increased family involvement helps promote children’s social and emotional development.
While the media-at-large may still try to portray fathers on a sliding scale from bumbling fools to baby-wearing, diaper-changing, sex-gods (because apparently a man who can juggle diaper changes, playdates, and the school pick-up line is so GQ) these new modern “super-dads,” are really just being active and involved parents. Although they might not parent like mothers do, (they aren’t supposed to) they are just as qualified to fill such big britches.
So, if all of these dads who are choosing to stay at home while the mamas bring home the bacon (or splitting responsibilities as a parent in the home when not at work) are redefining what modern fatherhood means today, I’d say this is a welcome change. These dads deserve our respect, not token compliments and over-the-top commotion over their greatness.
Yes, it’s great. It’s fabulous that men are rocking it in the dad department and taking on roles that once were considered strictly mom territory. But they didn’t bring that change about all on their own, I’m pretty sure moms had a thing or two to do with it too. It’s been an evolutionary change really, one that we can all take credit for.
To me, a great father is defined by his own emotional and psychological health. What makes a dad special is his presence. His authentic and consistent love and devotion to his children. Thankfully, I don’t have to look farther than my own home to be witness to such an example …
When he sings her a lullaby, he holds the moon and gives her a star to wear. And when she whispers softly, through half-closed eyes, “I love you, Dada,” she in turn hands him his entire world.
Privy to this (and similar exchanges) almost every night, I close my eyes and feel complete in such simple moments between a father and a daughter; my husband and my girl.
As he tucks him in exclaiming in hushed tones, “You’re late to meet the Sand Man! Where will you fly to in your dreams this time?”
I am humbled by his patience and gentle fortitude in setting a magical bedtime scene for his son, my boy.
Even with their wild streaks from here to there, he nurtures and guides. And he did it when they were newborns, too. Along with the diaper changes and the potty training. He, much like other great dads today, sees fatherhood more as a lifestyle than a job to fill. It’s hard work, yes — although it’s trivializing it to define it as a job. A father doesn’t babysit his kids, he takes care of them. A responsibility he signed up for when becoming a parent. Trying is cool. Not giving a shit is the real problem.
When you see a great dad out there in the wild world of parenting, juggling all the things, perhaps smoothly, perhaps with beads of perspiration upon his brow, don’t treat him like some kind of magical wizard or unicorn, in awe of his special specialness. Just a nod of the head, from one good parent to another will do.
More Babbles From Selena …
- To The Parents With Kids Who Have Public Meltdowns
- My Wedding May Not Have Looked Like Yours, But it Was Still Traditional
- Dodging Land Mines, One Blog Post at a Time
- 10 Things I Swore I Wouldn’t Do With My Daughter (and Now I am)
Selena is a crafty, culinary mom. Part-time mischief maker, all-the-time geek. Find her elsewhere on the Internets, mastering in general mayhem.