Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Today I was reflecting on how lucky our generation is to be breaking loose from a lot of the gender-stereotypical parenting roles that were expected in our parents' generation. I am lucky, also, to have a supportive partner who believes that parenting is an equal partnership.
Even before we had Sadie, I noticed this trend. It makes me so happy to see so many guys these days really stepping up to the role of sensitive, nurturing father. This is a good thing not only for women (who have for many years been weighted down by the unrealistic expectations of being the perfect wife/mother/homemaker/career woman) but also for men. What a loss that fathers were expected to uphold the strong and silent stereotype, never showing emotion or the ability to nurture their children.
How wonderful it is for the upcoming generation of boys to understand that it is okay for men to have emotions, to nurture others. The fathering paradigm is also shifting to include a more equal role in managing the household. I love that Loren helps with the cooking and cleaning. And has he ever complained about changing a diaper? Not yet (although sometimes I get an exaggerated play-by-play of the contents of the diaper) Like our friends Erin and Andrew always say, "Dads who change diapers change lives."
Does that mean that Loren and I do everything exactly the same? No. Is there a 50/50 division of all things parenting day-to-day? Not necessarily, but as the weeks and months (and eventually years) glide by there is an evenness. By default, my decision to quit my job stay home with Sadie means I get to spend more time with Sadie, but when Loren comes home he is present and ready to spell me out, change, feed and bathe the baby and play with her. They get their father daughter time, and I get a little me time.
Another thing I think is pretty rad about this new generation of fathers is their participation in their wives' prenatal care and the birth of their children. I love to hear dads getting all excited and talking up the whole birth experience of their children. Awesome :)