An Involved Dad from Day 1
The Pittsburgh Tribune Review published a nice twist on the usual bumbling dad storyline the other day. Instead of talking down to new fathers as if they were less intelligent beings than new mothers, this article highlights an organization that offers classes to fathers-to-be that mirror the type of classes being offered to new moms for decades. From what I read in this article, I'm hopeful that these particular fathers' classes are actually full-fledged parenting courses - not flimsy 'how to take care of Mom while she's breastfeeding' classes that keep fathers in a helper role. Hands-on baby care skills are learned, not innate, and dads can grasp the same facts and advice as moms.
I love that this article ends with a discussion of the societal pressures creating gender inequality in childraising right from the beginning of a baby's life - and most importantly, how crucial it is for men to push against these norms. Our culture says moms have first dibs on caring for their babies. I say that it is time for this to change. The article quotes one of the new dad class teachers: "The female-first parenting philosophy does a disservice to men who want to be actively involved in parenting -- and to the children who need a father to be involved."