Dad vs. Mom: Who’s the Real Parent?

October 8, 2009 at 10:16 am , by

truitt“Dads are parents, too,” insists my new pal Steve Truitt. Steve (that’s him at the right) is a self-help author (Stop Waiting For Permission!), life coach and TV host who became the main caregiver for his two daughters, ages 1 and 4, after he lost a major daily radio gig. I got in touch with him after reading his recent post—on Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference website—about how women can support their husband’s efforts to be hands-on dads.

I didn’t need to ask Steve why he felt the need to defend the idea of dads being “real” parents. I was pretty sure I knew why. As a new mom, I was amazed and horrified at the extent to which parenting, especially parenting small children, is all about moms. It’s like dads don’t exist—and even more than that, that they simply aren’t welcome to become part of hands-on parenting. It’s “Mommy and Me” this, “Mommy-Baby” that, new mom groups and mommy websites. At the time my son came along—three years ago—even Parenting magazine corrected their own gender-neutral name with the tagline, “what matters to moms.”

It made me angry. I became a single mom by choice, it’s true, but that choice didn’t have anything to do with my feelings about fatherhood. For the record, I’m for it. I think it’s extremely important for kids that their dads are hands-on parents too, and I hope my son will be a great dad someday.  But the pressure for men not to be too nurturing starts early. My son’s a very masculine, rough-and-tumble boy, but he also loves his little-boy doll. My mom, looking a bit horrified, asked me why I’d bought it for him. “So he can learn to be a good daddy,” I answered. Duh.

To me, there’s an obvious connection. I had a friend growing up, Ginny, who literally didn’t know how to cook or clean—didn’t have a clue—because her mom never showed her how or included her in the housework, and in fact discouraged her from becoming involved. Same kind of thing. Somehow Ginny’s estrogen levels didn’t entirely compensate for her lack of home training.

What I saw very clearly as a new mom was that men get (often justly) criticized for not being more hands-on as parents, while at the same time there are constant cultural messages that childrearing is women’s work, and that men should butt out.  It kind of seems like the guys can’t win for losing.

“It’s fascinating, the world you enter as a parent,” Steve agrees. “It’s so momcentric.” And as a life coach, he had found that many of his clients who were fathers were grappling with the feeling of being left out of the parenting process from Day One.

Then Steve lost a major part of his income due to the recession and found himself home, taking care of the kids. It was a harsh transition, and one that many men are dealing with right now, he says—he sees plenty of guys like himself in his life-coaching practice.  They are good guys, and they love their children, Steve says, but as traditional men, they—like he—had placed their identity in their jobs and in their ability to be providers. This hands-on parenting while the wife brings home most of the bacon can be incredibly hard on their self-esteem, and that’s not something they generally feel safe talking about with anyone.

These men are struggling, Steve says, but here’s his exciting theory: Steve thinks that this recession has created a de facto men’s movement that may finally change parenting roles the way the feminist movement hasn’t quite been able to do.

“It’s a reluctant movement, forced by the economy,” he concedes, “but I think something really good is going to come out of it. Men who have lost their jobs are not just trying to help raise their children—they’re learning to enjoy it.” Steve sees this as potentially having the kind of profound effect on men’s roles that World War II and Rosie the Riveter had on women’s.

To me, other than the economic loss that’s causing it, this situation is win-win. Men get to experience the joy of hands-on parenting, and kids get to have the pleasure of a really involved dad.

In any case, for Steve it’s been a growth experience. “First of all, it’s given me a tremendous amount of respect for women,” he says. “It has also taught me great patience. I’ve complained a lot less, and reached out a lot more.”

So, what do you think? Are men are parents, too? Are we women ready to share our role as M.I.P. (Most Important Parent)? Or is men’s lack of involvement something we bitch about, but don’t really want to change?

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , | 55 Comments

55 Responses to “Dad vs. Mom: Who’s the Real Parent?”

  1. If you think saying you are a stay-at-home Mom is a conversation stopper, try saying you are a stay-at-home Dad, especially to another man. At parties and other school events, m husband Paul, found that once he told other men that he was a stay-at-home Dad, the guys would utter some comment like “Wow, wish I could do that,” and then hastily retreat.

    I’ve been stopped in the street by Moms and nannies who are eager to tell me that they’ve seen Paul on the playground and that he is a GREAT father. I appreciate their compliments, but can you imagine someone stopping a Dad on the street to say, “Wow. I’ve seen your wife in the park and she is a GREAT Mom!”? You might say that about a nanny, but certainly not a Mom. Why is it appropriate to say that about a Dad?

    Finally, I have to say that at least in some cases, Mothers have themselves to blame if their male partners aren’t more “hands on”. I’ve seen many a man avoid parenting duties in order to avoid criticism. If we, as Mothers, can learn to bite our tongue and let our men find their own way of (fill in the blank: diapering, dressing, feeding, playing), I think we’ll find the guys will participate more. But that means keeping one’s mouth shut while watching the Dads reinvent the wheel and yes, make mistakes. And isn’t that one of the hardest things to do as a parent, too?


  2. I gotta admit: After carrying my first baby inside my body for nine virtually sleepless months, spending 14 hours in labor and then getting ripped stem to stern in order to meet him, feeding him with my poor sad breasts, and eating nothing I liked to eat for weeks because I got even less sleep when he suffered from gas, I had a hard time viewing my husband as an equal parent. He loved our son as much as I did, he was at least as competent as I was at bathing and dressing and soothing and entertaining him, and he took care of me as tenderly as he took care of Sam. But still. I felt this atavistic need to shout, “This is MY BABY!” if he ever had a different idea about anything. I don’t think I got over it for months.


  3. I definitely think that fathers are of equal importance in parenting. But I also think they bring a different element to the mix. In my case, I’ve been the one who nurtures and sets boundaries. My kids’ father is the one who plays and introduces new experiences. Not to say we don’t each do these things, but it’s more a matter of degrees. But now that we’re no longer together, I’m watching the Dad having to do both, since I’m not always there, and it’s been a good thing.


  4. Nice post. I didn’t know you were a single mom, Louise — my hat’s off to you. As you can see from this post I wrote about my more-than-halfway-husband, I honestly don’t think I could do what I do without him:
    http://www.confessionsofameanmommy.com/the-non-helpless-dad-a-fathers-day-shout-out-to-my-husband/

    That said, the world IS set up for mommy-baby, with dad hovering on the edges. In our school, if there’s a parent event, it is mostly moms who come, though a few dads. Most of that is practical. Yes, there are stay at home dads, but you have to admit the vast majority of stay at home parents are moms. And economic fact, sad to say for women’s earning power (though I freely admit that I mostly make more than my husband!).
    Denise


  5. Like Steve, who is a close friend, I, too found myself the Stay-at-Home Dad as a result of losing my job. And, like Steve, I will never again consider staying home with the kids something my wife, or anyone else’s “gets” to do. It’s by far the most difficult thing I have ever done. Doubtless, that is also why it has also been the most rewarding. Careful what you wish for, people… you just may get it.


  6. It’s so easy to see one’s side and not the other in this issue. Indeed women carry and birth the child and that can be a very very very difficult experience. But once the baby is here, we both have responsibilities and opportunities to care for the child, and by no means is it a mommy’s right to lay claim over both the decisions or the credit 100%. The emerging man of the 21st century seems to be someone who can do it all as well! Now we have something in common, ladies! Let’s celebrate!


  7. Steve seems like a likeable guy. I think he’s right…all win when the Dad is really involved…especially if the wife is accepting and appreciative…and vice verse.


  8. It takes two people to MAKE a child because it takes two people to RAISE a child. Period. Dads are just as important as moms.


  9. I myself am a single momma by choice and although I chose to have my daughter on my own, I recognize the importance of fathers and their families. It is improtant for society to nurture and respect the role of father, allowing our men to play, teach and nurture their children. I have heard over and over how much work it is to raise children and now I relize it. I commend parents who are loving, thoughful and guiding their children, no matter what sex. Thank you to the parents who raise their children in love, men and women alike.


  10. [... - http://www.lhj.com is other nice place of tips. Car insurance claims [… -


  11. If the byline of parenting magazine says it all, then so does LHJ: It’s about ladies, women, daughters, sisters, mothers. Where is the Gentlemen’s Home Journal? Oh, wait, there really isn’t any since men aren’t supposed to be in the home, even if the want to be. That’s Mom territory.
    Seriously, even if there were a domestic journal for men, it probably wouldn’t refer to men as gentlemen — that word seems to have been shoved aside; we still refer to women as ladies, but fail to use parallel language when referring to men. It’s guys or men, but women or ladies. Hmm. Antimale sexism still knows no bounds these days.


  12. There are many online beginners guitar tutorial sites promising this, and additional ridiculous things, so know that when you see a promise of learning the guitar fretboard in a single day, youre probably up against a scam. Learning to play the guitar will take time, as with everything rewarding in life, but the payoff is enormous.


  13. I’ve been browsing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before.


  14. This was a really nice portal. I will visit again soon!


  15. Hey there, You’ve done a great job. I’ll definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this website.


  16. Thanks a lot for providing individuals with an extraordinarily spectacular possiblity to discover important secrets from here. It is often very terrific plus jam-packed with a great time for me and my office colleagues to search the blog more than 3 times every week to see the new guides you have. And definitely, I am actually motivated with all the eye-popping creative concepts served by you. Certain 1 ideas in this article are indeed the most impressive I have ever had.


  17. Come to win money. lucky and higher money. Come for pick up money.


  18. I would like to express some appreciation to this writer for bailing me out of this type of dilemma. Right after looking out through the world wide web and finding basics that were not powerful, I figured my entire life was gone. Living minus the approaches to the difficulties you’ve sorted out by way of your article is a crucial case, and those which might have negatively affected my career if I hadn’t come across your web page. The knowledge and kindness in controlling everything was excellent. I am not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t encountered such a subject like this. I can at this point look forward to my future. Thanks so much for your impressive and result oriented guide. I won’t think twice to propose your blog to anybody who wants and needs care on this subject matter.


  19. I am pleased that I noticed this web blog , precisely the right information that I was searching for! .


  20. I am happy that I found this web blog , precisely the right information that I was searching for! .


  21. Rattling clean site, appreciate it for this post.


  22. Sign up to streammate for free using our link below and when you log in and you will have $20 free credit to use and browse the site with free porn and sex live cams – http://mt.livecamfun.com/xtarc/622569/354/1/arg_tour=ex1?mta=347783


  23. Cool, I in the end stumbled on a website about this! I was daydreaming about it this morning and now I find out about this website. Coincidence alright. keep going on…


  24. Thanks a lot for providing individuals with an exceptionally splendid chance to discover important secrets from this website. It is often so amazing and as well , stuffed with fun for me personally and my office co-workers to visit your site at least thrice per week to read through the newest tips you have got. Of course, I am also at all times impressed with your astonishing guidelines you serve. Selected 3 facts on this page are completely the most effective we’ve had.


  25. Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the net the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people consider worries that they plainly do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks


  26. I have been examinating out many of your posts and i can claim nice stuff. I will definitely bookmark your website.


  27. I’m still learning from you, while I’m making my way to the top as well. I absolutely love reading everything that is written on your blog.Keep the tips coming. I liked it!


  28. Wonderful beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your site, how can i subscribe for a blog site? The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear concept


  29. I like the valuable info you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here regularly. I’m quite sure I will learn many new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!


  30. I’ve been exploring for a bit for any high-quality articles or weblog posts in this sort of area . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this web site. Reading this info So i am satisfied to express that I have an incredibly just right uncanny feeling I found out exactly what I needed. I so much indisputably will make certain to don’t forget this site and provides it a glance a continuing.


  31. And I thought everything would be so nice and easy, but I guess life throws some unexpected curve balls, so I’m out, at least at this point.


  32. It really has to be a combined effort on the part of both parents. Everyone does things a little differently and there really is no right or wrong way. The key is to be clear in the message that is being sent day in and day out.


  33. I must express appreciation to you only for bailing myself out of this certain example. Right after looking through the web and also acquiring techniques that have been not really advantageous, I was thinking my entire life had been more than. Living without the strategies to the difficulties you’ve resolved through this site is really a essential situation, as well as ones that could have poorly affected my personal career if I hadn’t discovered your website. The instruction and also kindness in managing all facets has been invaluable. I not really know what I would’ve done if I had not discovered this type of stage like this. It’s feasible in order to at the moment enjoy my long term. Thanks to you because of this expert and also end result oriented manual. We won’t be reluctant to touch on your website in order to anyone who needs tips about this example.


  34. There is noticeably a bundle to identify about this. I suppose you made certain nice points in features also.


  35. May i simply say such a relief to get somebody who actually is conscious of what theyre talking about on the internet. An individual undoubtedly understand easy methods to provide a difficulty in order to gentle to make that crucial. Extra people need to read this kind of and also understand this part of the tale. We cant take into account youre no more common as you favorably have the gift.


  36. I really like the theme on your blog, I run a blog too, and I would like to use this theme. Is it a free style, or is it custom?


  37. This kind of truly clarified my own issue, many thanks!


  38. s


  39. Keep in touch although operating from your own home office with out all of the hassle of acquiring or renting costly equipment for your office. Borrowers are allowed to utilize using their poor credit background whenever.


  40. Also i must say i jealousy and the choice of submit matters, buying and selling websites really wish i could prepare like this.


  41. It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you some interesting things or tips. Perhaps you can write next articles referring to this article. I desire to read more things about it!


  42. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!


  43. Heya just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same outcome.


  44. Sup , I am forming a new unique website and I think your articles would really fit in well. Am I allowed to post think article for my readers?


  45. While I can appreciate the points in Dad vs. Mom: Who’s the Real Parent? | The Ladies' Lounge, I am tired and sick of hearing about the “economic recovery”. The Federal government borrowed and spent $6.1 trillion over the past 4 years to obtain a cumulative $700B increase in the nation’s Gross domestic product. That means we’ve borrowed and spent $8.70 for every $1 of nominal “growth” in GDP. In constant $, GDP is flat, we got no “growth” at all for the $6.1 trillion. In constant dollars, the gross domestic product in 2011 might go back to the 2007 level, if the US economy continues “growing” at the same pace reached inside the first 12 weeks of 2011. If not, then the Gross Domestic Product will actually be lower than pre-recession levels. There is no economic recovery, the facts prove this.


  46. Another new inclusion, I truly couldn’t have explained that much better myself.


  47. Studying knowledge brought in this article I get to a bit of interesting conclusions. I would really like to value your energy incurred in composing.


  48. Very Nice site I found it on the search engines , are you using wordpress with this blog? or some different?


  49. A lot of thanks for your own work on this web site. My daughter really likes working on research and it’s easy to see why. We all notice all concerning the dynamic mode you present invaluable solutions via the web site and as well as invigorate response from visitors about this area then our favorite child is starting to learn a lot of things. Take advantage of the remaining portion of the year. Your performing a terrific job.


  50. I¡¯m really enjoying the design and layout of your site. It¡¯s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Fantastic work!


  51. I can recommend to visit to you a site, with a large quantity of articles on a theme niteresting you.

    P.S. Please review icons


  52. Related content: The moms and dads of the newlyweds cut due to your uneven presents of 377 provincial social gathering committee standing inventory considerably less than MINXIAN Zhangxian county hail flood disaster has brought about 53 p 377 provincial bash committee standing inventory much less than


  53. It is in reality a nice and useful piece of info. I’m glad that you shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.


  54. I like this post, enjoyed this one thanks for putting up.


  55. Let’s take an idea: Mister Smith get a contract rent understanding for a unique Frd Mondeo intended for 4 years spending money on L300 per thirty days for your automobile.





SEO Powered by Platinum SEO from Techblissonline