Equally Shared Parenting - Half the Work ... All the Fun

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Here's where we keep you updated on news about parenting as it relates to division of responsibilities, career versus home decisions, work/life balance, and legislative and grass-roots movements toward equality or better choices for families. We'll also throw in our opinions of life as equal parents in a nonequal world, regardless of what's in the news.

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Equality Blog

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Substitute Moms

It was "bonus" Daddy Day at our house today - our term for an extra day for the kids with Marc. This windfall was brought on by the dead zone of daycare/preschool options the week before school restarts, and Marc's current at-home gig between jobs. He and the kids spent the day at the park, doing crafts at home, and generally hanging out.

The park visit was not as interesting as it could have been for Marc, given that he was one of only two fathers there amongst about 25 moms and nannies. He tried to strike up a conversation with his comrade, only to be told that the guy was doing his wife a favor by watching the kids because she had to work. Yikes. Furthermore, this daddy believed that childraising was the primary role of women in our society - "that's just the way it has always been and should be".

Actually, Mr. Substitute Mom wasn't a bad partner on the playground with his daughter. He was engaged in fun play, and not unhappy to be there. He just liked his arrangement as the primary breadwinner and his wife was supposedly happy with her arrangement as a part-time earner and full-time mom. So, to each his own - this is the way it should be.

And speaking of dads and their rightful roles, the CBS Early Show did a short segment this morning on Dads Changing Diapers. This frothy and light piece gushed amazement at the fact that most dads actually change diapers these days, and then went into great detail about how these evolved creatures need their own gear in order to be fully 'themselves' as fathers - ultrahip manly diaper bags. The dialogue even suggested that if women buy these bags for their husbands, then the guys are more likely to change diapers.

Now there is something great about a guy having his own diaper bag. Not that any guy needs a special bit of gear to be a good father, or to look the part. But a man touting a bag that is clearly not his style might as well say 'I'm not the main parent - I'm just filling in here and this is my wife's bag'. A guy with his own bag, however....

It's all in the intention. I cringe at the ideas that 1) men should be gushed over for changing diapers, 2) any parent would use material stuff or children themselves to accessorize his/her life, and 3) women would try to control men's diapering by buying them special bags. But if men want to forever shed the sad 'Mr. Mom' title, they can no longer be substitute mothers. They need their own mental 'bags' - meaning full ownership in parenting.

A shoutout to Rebeldad for great earlier coverage of the CBS story.


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