June 19, 2004


Tomorrow is Father’s Day and there have been several commentaries on the radio about the changing roles of childcare, the reconfiguring of balance in families, how it is more common for dads to stay home and take on the role of caregiver while mom goes out to make and bring home the bread.

Andrea Doucette was interviewed (CBC radio) for her book Do Men Mother? She (and others) admitted that social acceptance of this role reversal is still an issue. A lot of the men who are doing the main childcare role also work at home or part-time, like women have done for the past 20 years. What was most interesting was the comments on the style men use as compared to women: men promote independence more easily, encourage the child to be strong on his own, take more risks, are more physical in their play, are oriented to a more outdoors style. Of course, the men are still men, operating under the influence of male hormones, yet (and) quite capable of taking on the nurturing role.

In my childhood, the feeling was that children were to be “had,’” not played “with.” I don’t remember my parents ever playing with me, either one. It felt to me as if a child was more a possession. One to be carefully dusted and groomed. These days I often see both parents more involved in their children’s lives than in my childhood (although I am sure there must have been some playful parents back in that dark age of parenting).

What kind of a parent I have been is for my children to tell. (And I hope you ask them on a good day!) They basically had an absentee father. And for sure, I could have been a more playful parent (and lots of other “could have done’s”). Whatever lapses in attention I may have had in the past, the present is strong. They are wonderful people. (As in Japan, on May 5) we need a Hallmark style Children’s Day.

Posted by leya at June 19, 2004 12:33 PM