Is This a New Era of Domestic Fatherhood?

by Elizabeth Seward
Originally Published: 

Plenty of dad-focused blogs have popped up in recent years; in fact, we had a few dad bloggers swing by The Mid office recently to discuss this new era of fatherhood. These are dads who believe in teamwork around the house and put their money where their mouths are in terms of gender equality. They don’t want a pat on the back for being a parent doing things that used to be designated for moms only; they don’t want to raise their sons and daughters with a one-sided image of how domesticity and child-rearing works.

Kudos to them, every last one of them.

And kudos to Ashton Kutcher, who recently took restaurant owners to task for not offering diaper-changing stations. My husband tried to change our crap-smeared daughter a few months ago while we were out for brunch in Minneapolis. The bathrooms were downstairs, so I didn’t realize at the time that he was forced to change her on a bench in the hallway because there were no changing tables in the men’s restroom. I was reading a newspaper and drinking a Bloody Mary while he was sweating nervous bullets, trying to figure out why he didn’t have a place to change a baby.

He later recounted the whole ridiculous story to me, including the offended glares he received from other customers passing by. And it makes sense that they wouldn’t want to see baby poop in the middle of their meal. No one wants to see baby poop in the middle of their meal. But if a dad is going to step up to the plate to change that diaper, the least we can collectively do is make space for that in men’s restrooms. That anecdote is just an analogy for everything dad-related. If the Internet can make room for dads virtually, why haven’t we made more room for them literally?

As we open this chapter of dads jumping into sharing parental responsibilities equally (and then some in many cases) and fighting the weird gender norms that suggest certain duties are for moms exclusively, I almost feel bad for these men. Having places online available to help you navigate parenthood is a double-edged sword. I’m glad these dads are finding virtual support, but that also means that the daddy wars are finally here.

Here’s a word of advice, guys: don’t read the comments.

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