The evolution of fatherhood has contributed to a change in the family dynamic, as the traditional gender roles in parenting have blurred. For generations and generations, Dad typically served as the family’s primary breadwinner and left the childbearing duties to Mom. Throughout history men have been revered for their toughness, tenacity and the ability to keep it all together; a display of emotion was often viewed as a sign of weakness.
Two generations ago, when my father was a child, family life was very different than it is now. Our country was embattled in wars, drafts and economic hardships, all of which contributed to the existing culture of non-emotional, stoic and in some cases the detached role of fatherhood. Life wasn’t easy 50, 60, or 70 years ago and the weight of these realities often fell on Dad’s shoulders; always keeping it together for the family.
Fast forward several decades to my own childhood and family life is dramatically different. I grew up in a dual-working household and witnessed a true partnership between my parents. Of course Mom was always Mom, taking on the lion’s share of the domestic responsibilities and day to day life with my siblings and I, but my Dad was always right there. I remember my Dad would always handle the hard stuff like kill bugs, put our sick dogs down to rest, and teach us how to drive. Dad was still Dad, tough enough to handle the bug killing, not emotional enough to cry while watching Titanic, but so very present in my life.
Now here I am today, with a daughter of my own and a wonderful husband to raise her with. I am so thankful for the sacrifices of my grandfathers, who fought the wars and kept it all together and tucked away so my husband doesn’t have to. I will always be Mom, the one who gets up through the night with the baby, calls the doctor at the first sign of a fever, and the one who makes sure her coat is zipped up to fight the chill of winter. I know I will receive my accolades as Mom, serving on the front lines of parenthood, the good, bad, and ugly sides. But my husband and father to our daughter, is Dad; fun-loving, incredibly hard working and fiercely protective of his little girl.
Modern Dad is an epic storyteller, a comforting shoulder to cry on, a best friend, a chef, a master of changing diapers, and so much more. The fathers of yesterday and their roles within the traditional family were vital to shaping the Dads of today.
Happy Father’s Day to all!