Things Modern Dads Do That Would Shock Dads Of Yesteryear

May 1, 2019  |  
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I was having a picnic in a park with a friend the other day when a group of dads walked by, each either pushing a stroller or carrying their babies in little pouches across their chest. It was, admittedly, adorable. I also had to stop and laugh because, my dad never did anything like that. We had the very retro, nuclear family situation thing going on—as I believe many people my age did. My dad went to work in the morning, my mom stayed home with us, dealing with all the ins and outs of dirty diapers and messy feeding time and cranky nap time, and we just greeted our dad, rested and content at 6pm. He had no idea of the chaos that had ensued while he was away. And my mom didn’t see anything weird about that. She had old-school parents and was raised the same way. I’m glad that dads now openly wear baby carriers. That’s just one of the things dads today do, that dads of yesteryear would laugh at.

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The contraptions really are endless

I’ve seen men wearing those sashes that wrap around their body, cradling the baby. I’ve seen them wearing those sort of front-facing backpacks. I’ve seen them pushing strollers decked out with pink and sparkly toys. Dads today will transport cuties in all the ways moms do.

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In the past, moms handled transport

When I was little, moms were fully responsible for getting kids from point A to point B. You’d see moms frantically tethering two kids to themselves via leash, satchel, or any means, while dads strolled care-free next to them. I’m glad things have changed. Mom bodies go through enough with the whole pregnancy thing. They should get a load off.

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Staying at home

Today, it’s perfectly normal for a man to be a stay-at-home-dad. In fact, it’s respected and admired. Men feel comfortable (well, not all) stating that they want to take time off work to be more involved in the rearing of their children.

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Paternity leave used to be…what?

When my dad was raising me, neither he nor any of his male peers took paternity leave. It wasn’t even a discussed concept. Companies just wouldn’t respect a man if he wanted to leave work, raise his kids, and come back. That job wouldn’t be waiting for him. Thank goodness today, more and more large companies are acknowledging the importance of father-child bonding in the early years.

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Talking in a baby voice

My dad did not address me in a baby voice. He thought I was an adorable toddler. He snuggled and played with me. But he spoke to me in the same voice he uses to talk to his business associates. As long as I can remember, only women addressed me in a baby voice when I was little.

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Today, men speak freely in baby voice

The funny thing is that, now that the current generation of dads is more comfortable using the baby voice, even the older one is. While my grandfather didn’t talk to my mom in baby voice when she was little, he talks to his grandkids (and his dog) that way now.

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Involvement in all hobbies

When I was growing up, moms took daughters to their activities (and those were mostly things like ballet) and dads took sons to their activities (and those were all sports). Today, I’ll find plenty of dads standing around at ballet class, helping the kids put on their shoes, and many of those kids are boys.

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Hobby involvement=bonding

The beauty of fathers feeling free to hang out at “traditionally feminine” hobbies is that they get to bond more with their kids. And, the beauty of us doing away with gender ideas around hobbies means that parents don’t feel any shame around a child who chooses to go “against” a gender norm. The result is kids who feel free to be themselves and parents who feel free to encourage that.

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Baby and me class

A few decades ago, if you walked by a baby-and-me class or a gymboree class, you just saw moms and babies. Today, you see a lot more dads in there, learning games with their kids and learning proper holding techniques.

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Each parent should be self-sufficient

When I was little, only my mom knew how to do…anything with me. If my dad was going to hold me as a baby, bathe me, or play with me as a kid, my mom needed to be nearby to guide him. But, today, with both parents feeling welcome at baby-and-me classes, they can be self-sufficient. Dads don’t need to panic when they’re watching their kids solo.

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Midnight feedings

It used to just be moms responsible for the midnight feeding. That 3am screaming would start, and mom was up. And she was up again for the 5am feeding. Of course, back then, the understanding was that dad had to get up early for work and mom didn’t. Today, a lot of moms and dads share the midnight feedings.

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Moms need their rest

Honestly, if anyone needs rest it’s the mom who just carried a baby in her stomach for nine months. It makes sense that dads get up and do some of the midnight feedings. Between formula and stored breast milk, there’s no reason dads can’t help out.

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Hands-on nursing

Here’s one that would shock dads of yesteryear: the fake breasts. Some dads wear those fake breasts, feeding formula or stored breast milk through them, so they can have the nursing experience with baby.

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Nursing is bonding

I think we’ve all come to admit that men do have some envy about all the physical bonding moms do with babies. Moms carry the babies in pregnancy and feed them from their chest. These faux breast contraptions allow dads to have that chemical bonding that happens during “nursing.”

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The future could be healthier

Hopefully, this emergence of fathers taking on traditionally “female” roles and behaviors and sharing parenting duties that were once assigned just to mothers will lead to healthier kids. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but, if a kid has parent issues, they’re usually “daddy issues.” Maybe it’s because, at their cores, kids haven’t felt as bonded to their fathers. Perhaps these new parenting trends can change that.

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