The Cross Gendered Roles of Modern Parents
There’s no doubt that the gender roles of parents today have become less specific as compared to the way it worked back when The Dick Van Dyke Show was a model for the American household; back in the days when men simply brought home the bacon, women were “homemakers,” and it was that simple. No Mr. Mom’s or Mom CEO’s.
In my version of reality as a dad, I have done many things that a dad from the 1960′s would not have been expected to do, like preparing the baby’s bottles and getting involved in the process of rocking him to sleep. Meanwhile, my wife makes more money at her job than I do at mine, which also probably wouldn’t have been the case 50 years ago.
So in a world where I have had to become more feminized in order to be a modern (actively supportive and involved) husband and father, I jump at the chance to do masculine things; to remind me that I was designed and built for specific manly purposes.
This past weekend, my brother-in-law and I loaded the moving truck, then I drove it three hours to Nashville. (Due to the recent water damages, we still haven’t moved back into our townhouse, but went ahead and moved our belongings into the unaffected rooms.)
They shouldn’t trust me with this moving truck. I’ve never driven anything this big before. With all that’s gone wrong here lately, I’ll end up running over a street sign or flipping this thing over.
But I reminded myself that there was only one way to learn this kind of stuff- by simply just doing it. It turns out, thank God, not only did I make the three hour trek safely and without traffic violations, but not one item of cargo was damaged or destroyed.
I did a manly thing. I drove a “big” truck without any problems. And if I can brag on myself for something so minor, I’m actually good at driving a moving truck.
So what have we learned about me today? Sometimes I feel like the process of helping raise an infant has taken away much of my sense of manliness. Maybe that’s why over the past two months I made an effort to watch all four Die Hard movies for the first time in my life. Granted, I had to split them up into 45 minute increments to find the time to watch them, but I got it done.
The older my son gets, the more manly and relevant I will feel. I will transition from “biological babysitter” to a mentoring, adventurous dad.
As for now, driving a Budget truck across the state line to move my family back into our townhouse is the manliest thing I can do right now. As for the upcoming years of Star Wars marathons and exploring the woods with my son, I’ll just have to wait it out, cleaning out bottles while wearing my extremely manly Smurfs t-shirt and flannel pajama pants.