I love meeting fathers in the early days of a child’s life. Watching them grow to love the little person, figuring out how to change diapers, and seeing a sort of metamorphosis occur. It is so underrated and amazing to watch the evolution of a dad. Mothers have nine months to change in a more gradual fashion. Dads have a more “trial by fire” transition.
“We also have a growing body of biological research showing that fathers, like mothers, are hard-wired to care for children. Analogous to women’s hormonal changes when they become pregnant, breastfeed and care for children, men’s bodies respond with similar hormonal shifts.”
Despite a father’s ability to care for children, it is still difficult in our current society for men to get time off to participate in child caring. Paid paternity leaves are on the rise, but are certainly not the norm. And the stigma that is attached to stay at home Dads is improving, but still ever present in my opinion.
“So, how do we achieve such equality in the U.S. and other parts of the world? Certainly paid paternity leave is part of it (and in the U.S., we need paid maternity and paternity leave). But we need to start even earlier and go much deeper. We need to start with how we raise our sons and daughters. Boys are taught early in life to devalue care, to be hyper-competitive, super-achieving men. In the process, we get straightjacketed into emotionally distant, competitive lives. To break this cycle, we have to promote men’s caregiving early on.”
What can we do to help support fathers? If you haven’t given this topic any though, now is the time.