As young women have been out chasing careers, chasing dreams, finding passions, and popping out babies, new studies show that dads are now shouldering an equal load or even majority of the household duties. As reported in the New York Times, today’s successful working moms might not think that their husbands are around or near their level in terms of responsibility. However, with more and more moms picking up full-time work to help shoulder the burdens of modern life, many dads these days appear just as stressed as moms.
Practically gone are wives like my long-time friend Melissa. She and her Army husband, Scott, have two kids, and get moved around quite a bit for Scott’s army duties. However, wherever he has to go, she is always quick behind with their two kids in tow.
“I love being the mom,” Melissa recently said to me in a Facebook chat. Melissa’s having her third kid, and couldn’t be happier. “My situation is a little different because we have no real roots, but when Scott’s contract is up, we’re definitely going to settle down.”
Where that will be is where Scott can find civilian work, and Melissa couldn’t be happier about it.
According to the New York Times piece, Melissa is much more of a classic case.
“Men, the truism went, did not do their share of the grocery shopping or diaper changing. They let women pull the double shift. “
That’s my friend Melissa to a T. She tells me: “I cook, clean, look after the kids. At the end of most days though, we both just fall asleep in bed…Until I have to get up to feed the baby.”
While Melissa’s story may be something of a relic, on the other side of the country and in what seems like another world, I sit contemplating my own life. My dear wife is in her peak fertility years, and all her friends are doing it. We’ve talked about it before, and my largely progressive, forward-thinking, hard-charging, career-focused lady will probably want to have a child and keep going; that’s just the way she is.
I, on the other hand, have to grapple with my own introverted tendencies. For all the noise and bombast I had when I met her, I’m a shell of my former self. This “supporting yourself from your home” thing isn’t helping matters much. So, I have to imagine I’d be a lot like many of the dads in the Boston College study “The New Dad.” Maybe with, or maybe without, a career; confused, scared, and feeling a little out of place and inadequate.
This, while my amazing wife will continue to reach new, dizzying heights, junior and I in tow all the while.