Who’s Minding the Children?

August 29, 2013

In years gone by, most women took on the role of raising the children and running the home. Those who worked, were often expected to juggle household chores, children, and work, with very little support from their husbands.

As the years progressed and women started to dominate the workforce, the traditional roles of men and women started to change. More and more we would hear about women abandoning their husbands and children. We would hear about wives who became the sole breadwinner and men who became the stay-at-home dads. We would hear about women who went back to school to train for fulfilling careers. And a new set of dynamics started to emerge.

We saw the job market collapse in a downturn economy and men who had been employed in high-paying managerial jobs were laid off and they didn’t want to accept jobs that didn’t pay as well or weren’t as important. After a while, these men didn’t bother filling out résumés or going for interviews.

And what began to emerge was a shift in the paradigm of family dynamics. No one raises eyebrows anymore when a man tells someone that he is a stay-at-home dad and that he loves seeing his children every day instead of just on the weekends and holidays.

The stay-at-home fathers are no longer a novelty; their numbers keep growing. They aren’t the clumsy buffoons that TV sitcoms made them out to be. Instead, many of them are at least as capable as any woman, if not more so.

I don’t know if they will ever replace the concept of child rearing in the minds of traditionalists but I do know that they have carved out a niche for themselves in this new society.

It’s amazing how children respond to a man’s commands, e.g., brush your teeth and go to bed; put your toys away; do your homework, etc. Women often have to keep after the children to do these things but men seem to send a “do it now” message.

I like these new dynamics. Fathers are getting quality time with their children and building strong bonds with them. These stay-at-home dads are getting to enjoy more of what parenting is about than just providing a paycheck. They aren’t just babysitting; they’re parenting.

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