When my husband, my daughter and I were having lunch in a small eatery just outside me nephew’s school when came across a group of stay-at-home/work-at-home fathers having lunch with their kids.
Watching all of them together was a bit surreal for me. It was like watching a flock of mother hens tending to their chicks (“Eat your vegetables”, “Son, how was your quiz today?”). But instead of hens, they’re roosters. And they talk about the same things you would expect from stay at home moms (the cooking, the laundry, cleaning up the house) but with discussions about basketball and politics in between topics.
I was really happy to see all of that happening in my lifetime. How often do you see men bonding over child care? How often do you see men enjoying taking care of their kids, a task traditionally associated with women.
But for my husband, it elicited a strong emotional reaction. When we got home, he told me he was actually jealous of these men and if circumstances were different he thinks he would actually enjoy being a more hands-on parent.
I’m woman enough to admit that sometimes I make the mistake of associating certain stereotypes about men with my husband, Sadly, I know these are stereotypes that I subconsciously tolerate.
I know he can take care of our daughter as well as anyone, including me. I know he can take care of our household as well as any housekeeper if given the chance. I just never would have guessed that he would find it as fulfilling as pursuing a career.
Just last night I saw this video about Bronies, grown men who enjoy watching “My Little Pony“. Throughout the video, these men talked about their love for the show and the discrimination they faced for openly loving something that so feminine and girlie. But in the end,the narrator explains that the great thing about this show and about the men who love this show is how they completely accepted themselves. How they don’t let society define their masculinity for them. How they willingly embody and celebrate feminine traits like compassion and gentleness despite being bullied by their “manlier” peers. They’re brave enough to define their masculinity any way they want, and that definition ultimately leads to a better version of themselves.
The video made shows that feminism, true feminism, isn’t simply about women becoming equal to men. It’s about men and women being equal. Women can be assertive and aggressive. Men can be gentle and loving. Women are now taking on he traditional role of a father, being the breadwinner, and loving it. Why should we be surprised to see men enjoy being the mother?