The Good, the Bad and the Innovative
Father's Day is approaching, and you can tell from the contents of newspapers and magazines. Is it just me, or is there a higher percentage of stories on how involved fathers are with their children these days? I swear there is a turning of the tide. Or maybe I haven't scrutinized Father's Day messages so closely before.
Anyway, a nice piece on involved dads comes from the June issue of the Boston Parents Paper that my son T insisted on bringing home from the free literature table at his preschool today. The article is called You've Come a Long Way, Daddy! I like that twist on the 1970s women's empowerment slogan because I tend to think that involved, competent dads are empowered too - empowered to lead full and authentic lives. The article's message is that today's dads can overcome their legacy as less-than parents and rise to the challenge of equal status with moms. Nice suggestions are included, such as bringing the kids to their doctor's appointments, buying their clothes, doing the dishes, learning the names of the children's teachers and knowing the kids prized possessions. The article ends by coining a term - the fathering 'beast' - which means a wicked involved daddy who's proud of it.
Then there's this piece of fluff in Women's Health magazine. It's a perky and condescending description of why women are so much better at household chores than men, and how to get your man to do more so you can relax. Some of the tips have a small bit of merit, such as resisting the urge to supervise tasks that your spouse has agreed to handle, but the overall tone is, well, repulsive. This article tells women to manipulate their partners, while still holding onto the household management title. Buy him power tools so that he'll mow the lawn, buy him cookbooks so he'll cook and then demand he cook three nights a week, host a poker night so he'll 'beg' for more social gatherings. Allow me to at least leap forward into the 90s! No lasting equality will come of such maneuvering. If you want a true partner, treat your spouse as one. Hat tip to RebelDad for pointing me toward this piece of bad literature.
And finally, a bit of interesting news from the city of Birmingham, Alabama. The new mayor has announced that all city employees will be transitioning to a 4-day work week (that's four 10-hour days, so still full-time). The impetus is saving money on gas. Imagine a whole city functioning on a work schedule that countless other managers think is too risky to offer to employees. Hooray for Birmingham!