The Need for More Father’s Days

Growing up,  I had a father, whom I reluctantly visited once in a while on the weekends when I couldn’t fake being sick. He never knew my birthday (or didn’t bother acknowledging it), constantly told me how dumb my mother was, and lectured me about being greedy when I wanted juice with my meal at the Chinese restaurant we frequented during our visits.  As you can imagine, my image of a father figure developed into a dysfunctional assumption that men lacked the ability to raise children.

Luckily, I learned to distinguish a bad apple from a much larger lot of really wonderful men who are actual fathers to their fortuitous children.  I felt fortunate to have witnessed these relationships among my close friends who welcomed me into their families.

As my fiance and I talk about having a family of our own in the near future, I’m consumed with fears about becoming a single mom, which will have to be discussed in another post.  What’s interesting about our conversations is the amount of concern he has about being able to spend enough time with our unborn children.  His job is stressful, he periodically works long or odd hours, and he’s the breadwinner.  We talked about how it’s not fair that men frequently don’t get time off as easily as women for family reasons.

It turns out that my fiance isn’t the only one who feels stressed about juggling family and career.  According to yesterday’s New York Times article studies found that dads are just as stressed as moms about balancing work and family life.

Just last week, Boston College released a study called “The New Dad” suggesting that new fathers face a subtle bias in the workplace, which fails to recognize their stepped-up family responsibilities and presumes that they will be largely unaffected by children.

Putting our gender war aside about who does what and more, this article gave voice to family health concerns, rarely brought to the table at work.  Five years ago, I may not have wanted to acknowledge the importance of a father figure but I now know better than to think that a child is better off with one parent.  With the exception of extenuating circumstances, like abuse.

So in light of this article, here’s to more father’s days and not just the one day acknowledged by Home Depot and Hallmark.

Some interesting words from our president about this topic.

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