WORLDmag.com Community Blog Archive Bacon and bonding, not mutually exclusive
Amy Henry writes in WORLDmag:
It’s 7 a.m. the day after Father’s Day and I just realized I forgot to call my dad.
Not being a touchy-feely sort, I doubt he’s all that upset about it, though. More than likely, when I call him later, he’ll be shy about this whole celebrating fathers thing, never being quite convinced that dads need (or want) special recognition for working hard to bring home the bacon, something my dad feels is just as elemental to being a father as his biological contribution is.
Not everyone agrees on the bacon bit, however.
According to this New York Times article, the Boston College Center for Work and Family just released a survey titled “The New Dad: Exploring Fatherhood Within a Career Context,” in which 33 first-time fathers say that “being there, being present, spending time, being accessible” is what a “good father” does.
Also quoted in this article is NYU sociologist Kathleen Gerson, who says, “Most men no longer assume they can or will want to support a family on their own, but there is no clear path to manhood. Work and family shifts have created an ambiguous mix of new options and new insecurities with growing conflicts between work and parenting.”
The NYT article presents no new earth-shattering information: With the economy what it is, traditional roles (man as breadwinner, woman as child raiser) have, in many cases, been flipped. Mom going to the office while Dad flips pancakes in the kitchen is more common than ever in today’s economic upheaval.
But what remains to be seen is whether or not this scenario is best for the family long term. Will girls, who see their mothers leaving home and putting in a hard day of work while Dad takes on the domestic duties, learn or even want to learn how to make a home? Will boys who grow up with Dad in the nontraditional “softer” role ever develop the grit to get their feet hitting the cold, hard floor in the morning for some duty more rugged than pancake making?
When I was a child, my dad got up at 4 and left the house about 5:30 in the morning. He came home late almost every night and never at the same time. Our “quality” time with him happened while cutting wood or making ice at our ice plant or weeding the huge garden or during the long drives to the mountains where we would help him install a kitchen. He wasn’t much for ooey-gooey, forced attempts at “quality time” or “bonding,” but simply included us in his everyday life when and where he could, all while staying focused on keeping food in our mouths and a roof over our heads.
So who’s to say that “being there” or “being present” and “spending time” and “being accessible” are mutually exclusive to working in the traditional male role of breadwinner?
Not my dad. Which is what I thanked him for when I called him later that day.
Big "shout out" to the hard-working dads of the world!