Celebrating Dads Who Are Redefining the Role of Fathers
Frequently, I find myself frustrated with the double standard that exists for Moms and Dads. Despite the fact that gender roles have changed significantly in the past 60 years, we still regularly encounter an ingrained expectation that Mom will be the primary caregiver, while Dad is the primary breadwinner.
As frustrating as this is for me, I can imagine that it’s equally so for Dads. Gone are the days when their parenting role is limited to showing up for family dinner. Yet they are often still treated as secondary parents – celebrated for handling mundane parenting tasks, and met with outdated stereotypes when they seek flexible work arrangements or other accommodations to allow them to play a larger role in parenting their children.
Today, in honour of Father’s Day, I want to recognize the Dads that are doing their best to make sure that Dads are seen and treated as equal parents. The Dads that are right there in the trenches handling every sort of parenting duty – not for the accolades, but because they are a parent, embracing every aspect of the role.
So here’s to the Dads….
…who jump headfirst into fatherhood – reading the books, attending the classes, and doing everything they can to be the best parent they can be.
…who take any paternity leave available to them, and actively encourage those that come after them to do the same.
…who are learning alongside their partners, becoming expert diaper changers, baby burpers, and baby soothers.
…who, despite the fact that breastfeeding is the one area where they really can’t play an equal role, are handling their share of middle-of-night duties.
…who happily don the baby carrier and juggle the diaper bag.
…who are single dads and stay-at-home dads, confronting outdated gender roles on a daily basis.
…who are documenting their children’s childhood with a camera roll full of photos of the kids.
…who are handling diaper blowouts, spit up, stomach bugs, and every other less-than-glamorous aspect of parenting.
…who are scheduling and showing up to their children’s numerous appointments (a special shout out to my husband, who has made it to every single immunization appointment for all 3 of our kids!).
…who are teaching their children to walk, talk, read, swim, skate, ride a bike, tie their shoes, and throw a ball.
…who spend their evenings re-learning elementary school math, so they can help their child with homework.
…who are taking their children to school, volunteering in the classroom, and helping out on field trips.
…who wouldn’t dream of using the term “babysitting” to describe taking care of their own children, and are quick to correct anyone who does.
…who have mastered at least one go-to hairstyle for their daughters.
…who are actively involved in the sick day juggle, handling their share of days with an ill child.
…who are re-arranging their schedules as much as they can, to attend the middle-of-the-day, can’t-miss school events.
…who happily step in, when Mom is not available, to attend their child’s Mother’s Day tea.
…who embrace their roles as nurturers and supporters, doling out hugs and cuddles, and always taking the time to talk to their child about what’s on their mind.
…who encourage their partners to take time for themselves, and make sure to do the same, so that neither parent is losing themselves in parenthood.
…who aren’t intimidated by a night or weekend of solo parenting.
…who play tea party and cars, who let their children style their hair with an assortment of tiny hairbows. Who build forts, and play house, and read countless bedtime stories.
…who are active and equal participants in their children’s life. Who know their children’s friends, their favourite show, and their shoe size.
…who are doing their best to be there for the important moments – big and small – in their children’s life.
Here’s to the Dads who don’t think that doing any of these things is particularly noteworthy or deserving of praise. Only a few generations ago that would not have been the case, and it’s worth pausing to recognize how far we’ve come.
So thank you, Dads, for refusing to take a backseat when it comes to childrearing. Thank you for challenging outdated stereotypes, and understanding that being a father means being involved. Thank you for showing our sons – and our daughters – what it means to be a Dad.