If you are anything like I was in the summer of 2016, you may be experiencing a curious mixture of joy, apprehension and even shock. You’ve learned that in just a few short months you will be completely responsible for the welfare of a helpless little infant and, whatever your situation, you’re not quite sure you’re up to the task. Yet, you appreciate (rightly) that being a new father will be a rewarding and transformative experience. So, what do you do?
In generations past, you might crack open a cold one with your buddies, smoke a congratulatory cigar and then plot the surest course to the corner office so that you can provide the most comfortable life for your fledgling family while you hand over the day-to-day responsibilities of child rearing over to your spouse. Heck, if you have the means and a spouse/partner who’s on board with this, this might even work today!
But, for a large number of us new dads, that’s no longer how it works.
We live in a generation that has distinguished itself from prior ones in many ways, not the least of which is the hands-on approach men of our generation have taken to parenting. To be sure, much of this likely has to do with demographic and cultural shifts: For one, women have higher workforce participation rates than ever before and gave gained access to careers that have previously been reserved for men. At the same time, as our society as a whole has gotten richer, it has not done so equally for all, thus forcing many of to work “harder” to achieve the lifestyle we want in turn giving rise to the need for dual-earner households. In sum, men have had to “step it up” at home, as gone are the days of the stay-at-home mom and white picket fence.
Simultaneously, there has been a shift towards inclusiveness and sensitivity towards other lifestyles and worldviews held by those among us. Just as we now accept (or at least do not prohibit) ways of living that were previously taboo and/or shunned (e.g., expansion of rights for the LGBTQ community, with varying degrees of success), we accept differences in the domestic realm as well. The number of children being born to unmarried parents is now at an all-time high and, regardless of ones views on the matter is (thankfully for me), more accepted than ever before.
What does this all mean? Individual freedom is (relatively) at an all-time high. But, as has always been the case, with freedom comes great responsibility. We need to stand by our children, no matter the circumstance by which they came into the world, and provide a happy, healthy home life in which they can thrive.
So, new fathers, I exhort you to strap on your diaper bag, clean those bottles and pick out your favorite team-themed onesie. But, in the meantime, please feel free to browse some of our posts. Hopefully, you will find some informative and/or entertaining!