I stand corrected! Big thanks to single dad Sulak, who was understandably irritated by my Father’s Day Challenge. He writes:
There seems to be an implication, inherent in your two contests, that fathers are not doing enough, and that proper fatherhood should be focusing on supporting the mother. It’s not that there is anything inherently wrong with that viewpoint, it may not even be inaccurate, but I found it somewhat deflating that on Father’s day—a day to celebrate our relationships with our children—your idea of celebration involved having your male readers sit down to think of what more they can do for the mother. Is it so hard to imagine a that there may be father’s out there in the same position as your beleaguered mothers?
Admittedly, as a single father in over his head trying to support his daughter, this rankles a bit. I started the article with such high hopes, thinking that it might ask me to think creatively about what I can do to be a better father in my own right. But I read on to find out, from yet another publication, that being a father means stepping behind the mother.
Sulak is right that I made an implicit assumption that many fathers are not carrying their own care-giving weight, and that this tends to put what feels to me like an unfair burden on mothers. Although it is true that, on average, women still do 70% of the housework and childcare, not all men fall into these averages. I can only imagine how a posting like this would bother involved dads like Sulak! My suggestion was never intended to encourage fathers to step behind mothers; quite the contrary, I’d like to see dads really come into their own. There are a lot of different ways to become a better dad, just as there are many ways to grow as an individual. Some dads will grow by becoming better emotion coaches to their children, others by practicing gratitude more often, others by taking on more housework so that mom can spend more time playing with the kids.
So here is the revised Father’s Day challenge: How can you, as a dad, think creatively about what you can do to be a better father? Where do you want to grow as a dad or improve your fathering?
All fathers who take the challenge by posting here will be entered to win a copy of Raising Happiness.
Thanks for the feedback!