Many mothers today want to do it all: be the best parent possible, maintain balance in the home, succeed at work and still upkeep and nurture a personal life. It is inevitably a struggle to strive for that ideal, and it doesn't make us any more selfish choosing to be a working parent over staying at home. Or vice versa. We must do what we must do. There are pros and cons to both sides. Neither is easy and neither is glamourous.
That said, gender roles continue to evolve and women are becoming increasingly career-driven. Consequently, the role of parenting is becoming more equal-opportunity than ever before too. Egos are being checked at the door and men are putting more value in their spouse's finance and career growth opportunities rather than clinging to dated ideals of child-raising. At the same time, more dads are working from home, limiting hours or not working at all for the sake of the family dynamic.
There's certainly an increase in the number of dad blogs out there if that's any indication to the apparent shift of comfort level in dads' willingness to help run the household and tackle the monotony and minutiae of the child-raising which has long been considered women's work.
Dads, now more than ever, seem to be in tune with the pressures of modern day family roles and are agreeing to lighten the burden on their partners a bit by choosing to spend more time with their kids. Perhaps men are getting burned out on the social expectation of being the sole family provider in the same way moms are getting burned out on the expectation of being the stay-at-home parent, and so couples are forging a new gray area of co-parenting and family roles never known before. Either way, the cookie cutter model of family life is changing because clearly, something wasn't working.
Some of my favorites daddy blogs include How To Be a Dad, Man v Dadhood and Brad the Read Dad (who also writes for ). These guys are shedding some light on the very real day-to-day of child-raising from a man's perspective. It's entertaining and encouraging to know that dads struggle too but they seem to take it a lot less personally and with much more humor and lightheartedness than most women seem to. And whether it has to do with minimal emotion-sharing or lack of mommy guilt, they seem a lot less competitive about milestones and parental status - instead reveling in the camaraderie. And they have some great ideas too.
I, for one, find it refreshing. I've long believed that men, and especially the one I married, can be better parents than myself as mom. I'm fortunate enough to co-parent with a man who is home a lot thanks to a career with the fire service so he has first-hand knowledge of daily parenting challenges and doesn't for a moment find it a cake walk. He offers up an approach to parenting that I could learn a lot from.
Something to think about the next time you see a lone dad with his kids at the park or a birthday party.
Dads I know seem to have a different, usually calmer and dare I say more rational, perspective to all things parenting that is not only necessary for a balanced family life but is a welcome change. What men might lack in stereotypical strengths attributed to moms such as their organization and nurturing abilities, they make up for in strong security, bonding through play and a level of laid-back ease that I know I do not possess. And having been plagued by postpartum depression since my first child was born, I've yet to see dads effected by this mental illness many women tackle.
While it is only my personal belief that kids may benefit by being raised by a parent in the home, I doubt it makes much difference to them which one one it is, whether in whole or in part.
As each gender offers up a unique skill set, kids benefit from exposure to both. And while it's possible that the parenting shifts will change again with the next generation when children feel they didn't spend enough time with the opposite parent, we'll won't really know. What I do know is that each family must do what's best for them to maintain sanity and balance and if that comes in the form of more hands-on-dads then we should embrace and support it.