by Danielle Avazian-Reyes
A few weeks ago, my daughters and I were getting ready for a special mother-daughter event. In typical fashion, we were running late, and I was scrambling to get myself and the girls looking party-perfect (hair, jewelry, shoes, stockings, purses, etc.).
My husband jumped in to help out by offering to curl my younger daughter’s hair with hot rollers and put her jewelry on for her. It was by far one of the sweetest moments ever (seeing my big, strong, six-foot tall hubby delicately rolling my daughter’s hair in curlers). Not only did it melt my heart, it made me think about the role of the modern dad.
The stereotypical role of the “bumbling dad” has been a part of American pop culture for years—think Homer Simpson (“The Simpsons”), Al Bundy (“Married With Children”), and Jack Arnold (“Wonder Years”). Those dads are characterized as inept and clueless when it comes to parenting.
Comic books, TV commercials and films from as far back as the 1940’s made “incompetent” fathers the butt of many jokes. These stereotypes made it easy for girls and women to have low expectations of dad. But things are changing! One recent study shows that dads today spend twice as much time with their kids than dads two decades ago.
With most women working outside the home, moms and dads are sharing more parenting responsibilities. Even in households with stay-at-home moms, dads have become much more involved in their kids’ day-to-day lives, which benefits not only the kids, but dads too. Dads are driving carpool, making lunches, helping with homework and being role models for their kids. I have a friend who serves as “room dad” at his son’s school. He loves it, and so do the kids!
Society and the media are slowly adapting to a more evolved father figure (think “Modern Family” and “Parenthood”). There was even a recent NyQuil commercial showing a sick stay-at-home dad who must continue to care for his toddler with the tagline “dads don’t take sick days.” How’s that for progress?
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. Your role in family life is more important than you realize. Keep rising above the Al Bundys of the world.