June 16, 2005

Boston Globe: "Dads are no longer the 'assistant parent'"

According to this Boston Globe headline, new generation of dads is apparently staying at the office longer, and handing the parenting chores over to Mom, where they belong. No more of this, "let me take over," and "here, let me help, let's be equal partners" crap. They--

Oh, waitaminnit. Apparently, the new generations of dads are cancelling things to stay home when the kids are sick, changing diapers, getting more involved--they're not just 'assistant parents' anymore. My bad. Go about your business, people.

But not before you click on this awesome scare quote from Dr. Jerrold Shapiro, a counselling psychologist from California:

'Mom's tired, dad offers to take over. Mom watches from the doorway while he diapers. He fumbles. Which is the front, which is the back? Mom makes a small sound in the back of her throat. It scares the heck out of dad and the baby. She rushes over. She comforts baby and secures the diaper 'properly.' And she puts herself in prison for the rest of her life."
That's right, ladies. Complain about the "wrong" socks and you go to jail for the rest of your life.

Dads are no longer the 'assistant parent'
[boston.com, via DT reader Emily]


If these men are still out there, who is marrying them - and why?

Hey Mark, the article's the opposite of what I first said/thought. It's about more dads stepping up and taking on more parenting responsibilities across the board.

The real problem here is, I'm just not smart/funny enough.

Hey, Greg. Is it me or does the Boston Globe republish a variation of this article every other month?

I'm actually pretty nervous that I'll end up being in that position. I'm going to be a first time parent, but my gf already has a 10 year old and "knows the ropes," as it were. Hopefully I'll get a chance to figure out my own style as a dad while still being part of a good team, as opposed to just being an extension of mom's will.

yeah, I had that same feeling.

When I taught prenatal classes fifteen or so years ago, I used to caution the women against becoming "gatekeepers", a term I used (I read it somewhere) denoting those women who hover incessantly, preventing dad from developing his own relationship with their child.

It springs out of the mistaken notion that there's only one right way to parent. I have three children of my own (19, 16, 11) and five stepkids (9 through 17). Blending a family has taught me that there are surprisingly few things that absolutely must be done the same by both parents. As long as the parents treat each other's style with respect, the child can accommodate the differences!

I try my hardest to be a good, involved dad. And my wife lets me. But what this article said about mothers who say that everything will be equal before the child is born, but then tend to "take over" (and I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing) after the baby comes is absolutely correct. My wife didn't think she'd want to give up any of her job before Duncan arrived, but after he came I asked her if she was interested in switching to part time and she smiled and said yes, and that she was surprised she felt that way. Gotta love her for admitting it, though.

Mothers and fathers each bring something different to the child-rearing experience, like this article said. They each do their part to make the child a healthy, happy, well-socialized individual. And each parent should rejoice in the responsibilities they have while not intruding on the other person's experience unless asked.

AAAAAH! Thank GOD the Globe published this article! I was just about to tell my husband where the new diaper rash cream was!

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