crying on a bed

Fathers – “The New Normal”

In the forties and fifties, it was commonplace for a father to “bring home the bacon” while mothers reigned over the household and the children. In the 21st century a lot has changed. The “new normal” can be any configuration from: fathers who stay home with their kids, from mothers who are the breadwinners, from two parent income families, from same sex marriages, from single parenthood and from surrogacy or adoption.

However, with all the different constellations, I have noticed an increase of involved fathers, who are an instrumental part of their children’s lives. It is commonplace lately to see father’s take their kids to doctors’ appointments, engage in Playdates, and to be all around, maternal. These fathers can possess feelings for their children that some mothers seem lacking. A father is positioned to be both close and distant, affording his children an experience which contributes uniquely to their development, how can we understand this shift? Is it possible that mothers are “too close” by housing and giving birth to their children? Perhaps the fluctuations of hormones, breastfeeding, and recovery of giving birth unique to women and not to men, may make father’s capable of having the distance possible to love and nurture with less ambivalence than some mothers.

It is a common prejudice people feel that it must be automatic that by being a biological mother means that she is nurturing, loving, feeling or capable of sacrifice. Perhaps assigning a gender specific role to a father or a mother may have always been a disservice to what everyone “brings to the table”.

Recently, men have been more in touch with both their feminine and masculine sides, which is a real strength when raising children.

  • Study by a researcher at Oregon State University says that men can take on the role of being a mother
  • Dr. Saturn says that when a mother is absent the father assumes the role
  • This is in addition to playing the role of father as well – they can do both
  • But when a mother is present the father’s brain is less active emotionally
  • Research could be important for the role dads can play in kids’ upbringing (Jonathan O’Callaghan)

As human beings, we long to be nurtured and supported whatever gender or age we are.  Now we can embrace the possibility that a father can be as maternal as a mother if not more so. Let’s celebrate these special father’s, who might just give birth too, if they could…

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