The Fathers Wearing Aprons & Baking Cookies

June the month to celebrate our fathers. Originally, I was going to set up a challenge for the guys, instead,  I decided to share a little positivity on the fatherhood evolution. Dad's you are always welcome to try some of the challenges in the mother's challenge month section. There is nothing wrong with getting a pedicure, taking some yoga, or meditating throughout your day. It does not make you any less of a father, man by taking some time to yourself. Truth be told, we all need to take time to ourselves, just you and yourself. Yes mom's may complain but if you allow mom some time to herself as well, I'm sure she will be more than understanding. Working together as a team makes this parenthood thing much easier to manage.

Let me start by telling you the story of my upbringing. I am my father's only daughter and the oldest of three from my mother's side. I grew up seeing a different perspective on things. My mother on one hand, enforced principles of how to become a good wife before developing into a young lady. I describe it in more detail in my book, Molt, but here is quick summarized version. My mother instilled in me very early on that in order to be a good wife I had to be domesticated (cook, clean, serve everything in separate plates (not plastic)). Yes, everything on separate plates! Yikes! To make matters worse I never saw my step-father do a single dish. As a matter of fact, my mother never required my brother to do any chores around the house either. She was basically following the traditional upbringing that are instilled in Dominican women. It was part of the culture and extremely common to be a stay at home mom, take care of everything around the house, cater completely to a mans needs, while the man basically worked. I believe it was also the 1950's traditional family principles. No wonder Elizabeth Cady Stanton decided she wanted equal rights. While I appreciate the women who decide to stay at home and cater completely to a man's needs, I hated it!

I thought it was utterly ridiculous and completely unfair. Maybe my thinking stemmed from seeing how my father didn't allow me to do anything around the house, he cooked and combed my hair. My father growing up had a very ego-centric macho mentality. He too was brainwashed and believed that a woman's place was in the kitchen. Until he lived on his own. He had to learn to cook and clean for himself. Therefore, I like to think he had a change of heart when he had me. I mean the man was 53 years old, I would hope by that age you would change some traditional thinking that no longer works well. To make a long story short, I began to instill in my brother that instead of asking for things he should learn how to do them. Three women in the house he was definitely way too spoiled. One day he asked me to make him breakfast (I was a teenager at this point) I told him to grab the eggs and crack them. I grew tired of this unfair gender roles principles at this point. I showed him how to make his scrambled eggs and how to make himself a smoothie. Today he still brings up how he can make scrambled eggs thanks to me ha-ha.

 It is essential to change this sort of thinking. This is a new era. Most children do not get married before leaving their homes. It is equally as important to teach both genders how to do things around the house and how to cook a home cooked meal. Just like you should teach a little girl how to use a hammer. She shouldn't have to rely on a handyman to put up a curtain rod. It is for their own survival. If you do not know the basics of how to live on your own, how can you expect to live with someone else? As a mother of boys I make sure to teach them that boys can wear apron's too. Boys can also pick up a mop and clean floors. Your gender does not excuse you from learning these things. 

Which brings me to this point. According to the 6 facts about American fathers by the Pew Research Center these are some of the figures. 

" Fatherhood in America is changing in important and sometimes surprising ways. Today, fathers who live with their children are taking a more active role in caring for them and helping out around the house. And the ranks of stay-at-home and single fathers have grown significantly in recent decades. At the same time, more and more children are growing up without a father in the home. "

  1. Fathers see Fatherhood as center to their identity.
  2. Dads are much more involved in child care than they were 50 years ago. In 2015, fathers reported spending, on average, seven hours a week on child care – almost triple the time they provided back in 1965.
  3. It’s become less common for dads to be their family’s sole breadwinner. About a quarter of couples (27%) who live with children younger than 18 are in families where only the father works. This marks a dramatic change from 1970, when almost half of these couples (47%) were in families where only the dad worked. The share of couples living in dual-earner families has risen significantly, and now comprises the majority of two-parent families with children.
  4. Despite changing gender roles, many still perceive mothers as better equipped than fathers to care for children. When it comes to caring for a new baby, 53% of Americans say that, breast-feeding aside, mothers do a better job than fathers; only 1% of Americans say fathers do a better job than mothers. Another 45% say mothers and fathers do about equally well.

Above are just some of the points that stuck out to me from the article. There are a lot more to see in the article so please browse through it. I also saw in the us government census report that there are more than 214k single fathers as of 2015. Now those figures may change but it made me see things in a new light. I've only heard the single mother stories, I mean I was one of them. The single father stories are not as commonly heard. There is a growing number of fathers who now choose to stay at home while their wives become the breadwinner. I thought they were blowing smoke until I spoke to someone who had four children and she said, her husband took care of everything while she worked. Now I did ask if he contributed with income at all because I was always taught the man was a provider, she explained he did real estate part-time. I thought that was a unicorn situation because I never heard of it before.

Now after doing some research I am gaining knowledge that those numbers have been growing at a rapid pace. Later on I met a single father who coached my son in basketball. I was so honored to hear his story. I never met a single father before that instance. It goes to show you how ignorant we can be when we only fill our circles with the same stories.  It made me feel so proud of the daddies and how they have become more involved with raising their children, not just financially. Parenting is a very tough job. It is not easy at all. At least it isn't for me. In a dual family income balancing family is extremely hard but with the cost of inflation, it is almost a matter of survival for both parents to work. Daycare cost are almost the same as a mortgage payment today. That is a whole other blog but expenses are not diminishing any time soon.

So to the hero's, the stay at home fathers, the guys putting in the extra effort to help raise their children, thank you. Children need guidance from you, just as much as they need from their moms. Parenting is a dual effort and children grow up to be so much more grounded and happier with their lives when both parents are involved. So I encourage you all to get in there. Get involved as much as possible. Let's make the change in our children's lives and break the stigma that daddy only does this and mommy only does that. Let me know in the comments your thoughts.