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Daditude Adjustment

Daditude Adjustment

I am not a frequent reader of USA Today, one of the more widely consumed newspapers in the country as it is commonly found at the foot of hotel room doors. Regardless, someone had sent along a link to, what was, a surprisingly insightful story by USA Today writer Sharon Jayson about the contemporary state of fatherhood titled “New Daditude.

This idea of “daditude” or dad pride is relatively new to the parenting scene, but has secured a lot of attention, and not just because of the novelty factor, although novelty and humor play a large part in the new daddy identity. As writer Jeremy Adam Smith, author of The Daddy Shift describes the new daddy consciousness and expression, “Many of these dads write about their experiences with humor,” which Smith calls “the male response to being uncomfortable.” In some respects, because fathers have been viewed largely as support and/or relief for beleaguered moms who ostensibly run the show, the general conception is that the bar has been set so low, they could only impress. It is implied in the USA Today article, that because there exists no road map for paternal nurturing and involvement (evidently hands-on fatherhood is a 21st-century invention) that fathers are freed up from having to compete with one another (presumably like mothers do) and therefore take on a more playful and free-spirited approach. These notions, however, are almost entirely cynical as is evidenced by the numerous daddy-centric blogs, books, and buzz coursing through contemporary media that are attempting to, not only raise expectations, but also raise consciousness on the whole.

As an involved father, I approach much of this excitement with reserved bemusement. I am certainly pleased to see a great deal of discussion around the idea of fatherhood in contemporary society, but wonder if by rushing to label it, and reveal how diametrically opposed it is to motherhood, aren’t we cheapening the prospects of truly raising the bar on what it means, not only to be a father, but to be a parent? Maybe this is a good time to reveal, not the differences in parental roles, but the similarity and equality among parenting approaches.

Feel free to chime in, fathers, mothers, or concerned parties.

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, N.Y. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.

17 comments

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4:02PM PDT on Jun 6, 2012

All dads should be involved in their childrens lives, but let's face it, these guys are simply doing what pretty much EVERY mother in the world has done for HUNDREDS of years! Why would we credit them for doing what they should do anyway!!

4:54PM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

2:20PM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

nothing better or harder than being a dad......

11:53PM PST on Nov 30, 2011

Kristen,
Men, from what I read, often feel like they *are* doing an 'equal' share, by doing the providing, paying for the bills, etc., and can feel hounded by their women (when heterosexual) when they are accused of 'not doing enough.' Guys are still more likely than women for to hold highly competitive positions that require them for to have more aggressiveness in what they do (corporate jobs, executive positions, lawyers, etc.), so a lot of their contributions unto a household and/or family is the providing of the bulk of or at least higher amount of the finances. I don't have two-legged children, and while I'm a little more open unto the idea than I once was, I am a little hesitant about the idea for various reasons. That said, I would hope that if I were a partner in a childed heterosexual couple that I would be a supportive partner of my partner no matter what he was doing for to help the family + kids. It can be more difficult for to 'make time' for the family when one is sweating more than 8 hours a day (hypothetically speaking as a married man is more likely for to work overtime and whatnot for to support the wife and kids) for to provide and then come home and be an emotionally and/or active partner in regard to the wife and kids. Just saying. I know I don't have the same amount of experience in this area, not being legally married in the official sense myself; However, I've done a bit of reading on the issues men face in a partnership and/or in society so I have to

10:17AM PST on Nov 29, 2011

Thank you

8:40PM PDT on Jun 17, 2011

Thanks for the article.

11:15AM PST on Dec 16, 2009

How about the single fathers and their experiences? Yes society is "cheapening the prospects" of raising the bar on what it means to be a father if it's generalizing fatherhood to be almost like playful babysitter.

6:09PM PDT on Jul 20, 2009

Norma,
Your son-in-law sounds like a gem. Kudos to him and you can tell him I said so. :

4:58PM PDT on Jul 19, 2009

I think it is great! More dads need to be involved with there children. I am a preschool teacher and find that more moms come. But it is getting better more dads are paticipating. I see more single fathers now! I think it is great, we use to have the haredest time getting fathers to be involved now they volunteer more willingly. I think it use to be the moms do alol this and dads go to work. dads are finding it more acceptable to do more for there kids!

3:09PM PDT on Jul 1, 2009

Involved dads are nothing new, and some of us - custodial single fathers - have been a lot more involved than what's discussed in the article. My son was in kindergarten when his mother abandoned her child and husband. With a lot of help from my mother (until her death when he was 14) I nurtured, guided and raised him to be an honors student and athlete in high school and a graduate of University of California. His mother's involved tapered off and she didn't bother with anything more than an occasional birthday or Christmas card by the time he was 8-years-old. Twenty years after I became a single parent my ex is finally trying to re-establish a relationship with our son, something he says is "too little, too late."

There are a lot of us. A neighbor has been single parenting for nearly 10 years after his then-wife became hooked on prescription pain medications. We're not heroes, we're just men who love our kids, accept all of the responsibilities of being a parent and put their needs ahead of our egos and our wants. And it's worth it!

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