MANILA — Gone were the days when fathers are strictly and literally the “pillars” of our home.
Today, they are not just a structure that makes the house sturdy. They are real, full of life and fun-to-be-with heroes who can take the role of moms while being awesome dads, all at the same time.
A typical dad would wake up in the morning, wear their coats on, and go straight to the kitchen where a hearty breakfast is waiting. He would sip his coffee while reading the newspaper, and then he would go straight to work.
But this was an old picture of a dad in what used to be an extremely patriarchal society.
Office work and any other work are strictly “for dads only.” Fathers dominated the workplace while mothers stayed home attending to the kids’ needs and working 24/7 cleaning the house, doing the chores.
A woman’s parenting and housekeeping career used to be a social norm. There was even a time in history when women were not just discouraged but prohibited to take on work that are only exclusive to men.
While a mother’s role is more complicated to explain, a father’s role used to be a little complex than a mother’s role. Dads used to describe their occupation using a single word – doctor, engineer, lawyer, teacher, farmer, janitor, fisherman, businessman, driver, seaman, technician, etc.
But today, a dad plays the role of a doctor, but a part time cook, laundry man, floor scrubber and carwash personnel at the same time. He may be an engineer but a baby sitter and a driver of kids to school and back home; a technician but a part time daughter’s reading tutor and son’s basketball coach; and many other roles marked as “complicated” in the professional world.
But the most important shift is that, dads today have evolved to a more heroic role—saying goodbye to the professional world and becoming a “stay-at-home” dad.
Equality brought forth dads’ heroic roles
As time goes, women have gained acceptance in the world of professional work turning the tables from a patriarchal to an egalitarian society where men and women are given equal treatment in the work place.
Psychologists believe that women’s fight for equality have caused the changing roles of fathers. Andrew Smiler, a development psychologist and an assistant professor at the Wake Forest University has noted how more men today have changed their ideas about fatherhood as more women dominate the professional workplace.
The changes in men and women’s roles created a shift in men’s disciplinarian and provider role to a much lighter role of being their children’s ultimate best friend.
In a more involved family model, Smiler pictures a modern day father as someone who has greater interests in being more fatherly to the children by attending to their daily needs, and being with them most of the time.
Stay-at-home dad: the new family hero
As more moms leave the brooms, the dishes, the floor scrubs and the laundry at home to face paperwork, laptops and the professional environment, more dads are also forced to make that one heroic move—leave work and become what they call, the modern day “house husband.”
In a society exposed and used to the patriarchal system, it is not impossible to expect more men to prefer working in the office leaving all the work at home including most of their job in child-raising to the mothers.
Since, equalizing men and women’s role in the society took quite some time to materialize, it is somehow natural for men to build that sense of pride by sticking to the traditional “breadwinner role” of fathers.
But the changing environment also brought a complete change to men’s traditional roles.
As more women are forced to work outside the house, being what they call a “house husband” or a “stay-at-home” daddy becomes more acceptable in the society.
Recessions and unemployment among male workers have placed an extra pressure on fathers, as they are forced to say goodbye to the professional world and take on the mothers’ roles.
But being a stay-at-home dad is not as tragic as some men, who are deeply inclined with fathers’ traditional roles, usually think.
Studies showed that stay-at-home fathers who have closer and positive relationship with their children are less likely to avoid breaking homes by initiating divorce. The more that a father is exposed to parenting, the more he values the importance of a complete and a happy family.
But the thing is whatever role— traditional or modern—a father may choose to take, his role of being the strong foundation of the family will always remain; he will always be the family’s modern-day hero.