This is a mini-series sharing my perspective on men, women, and working roles in today’s society. You can read Part One here.
I’m the bread winner in my family. Working in a technology based field has blessed me with a decent salary, and while FirefighterDad has served his country and now works in Public Service, his salary isn’t near mine. This isn’t a badge we wear though. We view our income has our Family’s Income – we both contribute, therefore we both make decisions on how we choose to spend it. So at the end of the day, it’s really a moot point. We earn it together, and we spend it together. What’s interesting about it though, is FirefighterDad and I don’t hold traditional roles by society’s standards.
Another interesting point – I have never been the stay at home parent; again another traditionally women-held role by society. After Diapers was born, it was advised that he not attend daycare for his first year since he was a preemie, and daycares are germ factories. Therefore, FirefighterDad stayed home for 2 years with Diapers and created an incredible foundation of love, learning, and fun for our little boy. Not to mention, Diapers stayed healthy with only a few tiny bumps in the road along the way.
So this brings me to my point of the second instalment of my mini-series.
Fathers are not babysitters.
Fathers are parents. They are part of a team that is fully capable of taking care of their child(ren). And the wonderful part about this is they want to (speaking for FirefighterDad of course here). There are still many times that my controlling-obsessive-nurturing-mommy-tendencies kick in and I comb over every detail and need Diapers might have to FirefighterDad before I leave for a run, or have a girls’ night out, or head to the grocery store. And FirefighterDad calmly looks at me (sometimes with that all too familiar shit-eating grin) and says “This isn’t my first rodeo.” Or something to that effect. And he’s right. This is the man that kept our family afloat while I was in the hospital for 28 days trying to stay pregnant. This is the man that stood by my side during labor and weeks of NICU visits. This is the man that knew how to operate a breast pump (shit you not). This is the man that quickly became all too familiar with the intrinsic pull of wanting to be with his wife, but also needing to be with his son as they worked on him minutes after being born. This is a man that held his 5 pound son and became a Dad. This isn’t his first rodeo. He has instincts and powerful emotions of love, protection, and providing. And although his methods might differ from my and his love may look different than mine, he’s no less of a father, and his ways aren’t wrong. His ways are beautiful, powerful, and create an amazing balance. A balance so profound that Diapers is flourishing!
So Dads are Dads not babysitters. This article says it well too. I know Derrick’s choice in words didn’t match his intent, or the point he was trying to get across, but both men and women need to recognize that although men don’t dominate the role of the primary care giver, they are still parents who provide, love, and nurture their children in their own ways.
Again we are seeing a change in cultural norms and the rise of SAHDs is increasing, and this is powerful. This is re-shaping our culture and our attitudes about parenting, and creating a balance between men and women. Whether it’s working and being the sole income provider, or being the stay at home parent, we are all tipping the scales in favor of teamwork, support, and understanding. For all the Dads, keep up the great work because we know you are all very capable of loving your children!
I hope you enjoyed this mini-series! Please share your thoughts below!