In the June 18th issue of Time magazine, James Poniewozik wrote an article entitled: Daddy Issues: What’s So Funny About Men Taking Care of Babies?. He points out that the notion of men taking care of babies provides much comic fodder in movies and television shows. “Three Men and a Baby”, “The Hangover”, “What To Expect When You’re Expecting”, “Raising Hope”, and “Baby Daddy” ( a new show that follows a twenty-year old who raises a baby alone that was left on his doorstep…by the way, does that EVER happen?) At any rate, men trying to tap their feminine side or nurturing side is apparently hilarious because men are so inept at it.
In real life, the hands-on dad is no longer an oddity. 32% of Fathers are regular caregivers when the wife is also working. That is up from 26% in 2002. Also, 20% of the Dads out there with kids under the age of five are primary caregivers. Society is getting used to “the stroller-wrangling, sippy cup-juggling dad.” As it should.
Much of the humor in any media is based on the notion that it’s unnatural for men to be good at caring for kids. “There are, fortunately, better dad role models in sitcoms: shows like “Modern Family”, Louie” and “Up All Night” involve caregiver dads without treating them as ridiculous or unmanned."
Why are men, as a whole, more involved with their kids now? Many just don’t want to miss out on their development and special moments. Why should Mom get all the perks? It is also a sense of general responsibility. Any man who contributes to bringing a baby into this world needs to take that responsibility seriously. Their involvement SHOULD be a given.
Dads need to be given as much respect and consideration as Moms get on Mothers Day. Some Dad’s (just like some Moms) go above and beyond to enhance and improve the quality of their children’s lives. It’s not correct to just assume that men are only interested in sports, beer and sex. Men with their priorities in place put their family first.
On a personal note, I raised my son by myself from age ten to twenty-one. I had no help at all from family and completely set my life and priorities aside to meet his needs. It was not easy and I preferred being the “good cop” to the “bad cop” but I had no choice. I did whatever I had to do that I felt would help him. I have no regrets or resentment that I had to focus on my son 24/7 for at least ten years (I even retired early to make sure he had the support at home he needed). I accepted the "Dad" role and played it out to the best of my abilities.
My son will become a father for the first time this week. He is twenty-two years old and is being extremely good about all the pre-delivery responsibilities but he’s still basically clueless about how much his life will change once the baby is here. That’s okay though. How many of us really knew what we were in for as parents? (Not me, that’s for sure!) But I see men all over the place who are stepping up and becoming extremely involved in their kids’ lives. My neighbors are wonderful Dads. I see men with babies in slings and in backpacks and even a few times in the public men’s room changing diapers and to me, there’s nothing funny about that. It’s as it should be.