I have written many articles about Motherhood and parenting, from the perspective of a female. There is so much in literature about women and children to draw from and I happen to be a mom myself. So I thought I’d say a few words with regard to the fathers out there. It isn’t just women’s roles that have changed over the last several decades; but men too have seen an evolution of sorts, and for some, it hasn’t always been easy.
As the dividing lines between the traditional roles of mom and dad become ever blurrier, some dads have been left wondering where they fit in. Many women now provide financially for the family, along with their partners, but have been reluctant to let go of control of the household. So often I hear women complaining about how their mate handles various situations with the kids such as meals and clothing - traditionally within the mom’s domain. These women often adopt the attitude of, “If I want it done right, I’ll do it myself.”
This is a very unfortunate and alienating stance to take; and one that often leaves fathers feeling helpless, and uncertain about their role. Another possible side effect of moms taking over; is that some dads opt out of the equation altogether.
We know from numerous studies that children who are raised without a father (or second parent) in the home are more likely to suffer in a number of ways. Studies have shown poorer academic performance, increase in drug use, higher incidence of obesity, and earlier sexual behavior among those children who have an uninvolved father. This is a sad, but very real, statistic.
As mothers, it is incumbent upon us to assist and allow the fathers of our children to find their knack for parenting. This means releasing some of the control we have traditionally wielded over the household. It means presenting a united front for the children that begins to erode at the stereotypes of father as the provider and disciplinarian, and mother as the only caretaker.
There is certainly nothing wrong with maintaining traditional roles; as long as everyone is in agreement, and both parents feel comfortable and desirous of their role. Communication about these issues, prior to having children, is the key to a successful division of labor among parents.