As a modern day dad blogger, I often get asked, “what’s so different about today’s dads?”
Well, most days I’m far too busy to even contemplate such an interesting, yet exhausting, concept; one that surmises that dads, as a whole, have really changed at all. But tonight, after working a full day at the office, picking up my son from pre-school, making the family dinner (it was my night) and putting the kids to bed by myself, I thought now was probably a great time to answer this question.
Answer: Dads haven’t changed- the good ones, anyway – but our choices sure have.
Yes. Yes. The 1950’s era depiction of dads as authoritative, bread-winning dictators who liked to work on their cars and drink alone, watching Milton Berle while their wives tended to the children, and the home, is not lost on me. But Ward Cleaver wasn’t such a bad guy. I mean he’s no Charles Engels, driving his girls to school every day in that 1870’s buggy and trying his best to be involved in all aspects of his family life, but who is? That guy was a god.
Two different kinds of dads, from two different eras, making choices for their families. That’s it.
The family farmer of the 1800’s got to spend more time with his kids. Sure, he kept them up until midnight to make sure all the chores were done, but that was quality time, right?
The “working” dad of the 1950’s had to leave home every morning, leaving his wife and kids behind to travel to a job he may have hated just to put food on the table and clothes on their backs.
Today’s dads come in many different forms; from stay-at-home dads to involved dads to gay dads to co-parenting (divorced) dads to deadbeat dads. And Ward Cleaver and Charles Engels, quite frankly, didn’t have those kinds of choices.
Today, dads can be anything they want to be (except maybe traditional family farmers, as they are hard to come by these days). That authoritative, bread-winning dad still exists, but his numbers are dwindling. Yes, deadbeat dads may be on the rise, and the number of gay dads are on the rise too, but, if you ask me, two dads are certainly better than none.
There are 2.2 million stay-at-home-dads in North America, and that number is growing. And so is the number of dads who simply want to be a fair partner in the raising of their kids. Dads like me, who cook and clean and carpool the kids to school and bathe their kids and dress them and put them to bed whenever they can. Dads who hold down one, possibly two jobs so their kids can have a better life. Dads who know what their real job is, and treat it with the respect it deserves.
Choices. That’s what separates today’s “Modern Dad” and makes him different.
The world has always had great dads. The world always will. Some dads will always hide behind the title while others embrace will embrace it. I choose to embrace it. And to the millions, even billions of other dads in the world who’s children are proud to say “that’s my dad” when you walk in the room, you know you made the right choices too.
Now, modern day kids, well that’s a different story. Let’s blame their parents…