When I was a child, I had a great dad. He was a wonderful late-20th century dad. He worked hard, was home for dinner, encouraged us when we needed encouragement, and got involved in discipline decisions if there was ever a significant offense, which thankfully for us all, was rare. On the weekends, he spent time with us and made us laugh often, but when it came to the day-to-day aspects of parenthood – diaper changes/toilet training, food preparation, boo boo kissing, teacher conferences, homework, etc., it was pretty much all Mom. That’s just how it was for most families — at least the ones I knew.
I’m not sure when the shift happened, but somewhere after the year 2000, more involved dads came into the picture. I’m sure some expert somewhere knows why this happened, but I can only speculate that some dads started to realize how rewarding it is to be involved in the lives of their children, and it just caught on. Now, I realize this is not the case for every family, everywhere, but I like what I’m seeing. I’m seeing more dads at school, more dads with their kids on weekends, more stories from my friends about their husbands taking care of household chores and getting involved in parenting their children. Unlike other cultural shifts, this one is most definitely for the best.
In my own life as a mother, I find that the amount of help I receive from my husband is significant, and I therefore feel less of a burden, less fearful, more confident and in control as a parent because I have a partner who supports me and considers himself equally responsible for raising our children, even though he works many hours during the week. I don’t know if he is like many other dads in this way, but I know it makes for a much smoother ride for us all, and I am incredibly grateful.
Boys, as you read this in 2030, I hope you decide to thank your dad. He’s awesome.
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