A New Interest in Coparenting
Though their numbers are still small, more guys than ever are scaling back on work or quitting altogether to help raise a family. And even those who stick to the most traditional breadwinner role are different from dads of the past: Many say they feel freer to be more nurturing, affectionate, and emotionally expressive parents, without any concern that their manliness might be questioned.
"From what I see, the number of men interested in coparenting is higher than it's ever been," says Parents advisor Kyle Pruett, MD, clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale University. In his child-development courses, he says, young men talk about wanting to be more hands-on with their children. "They're not comfortable having so few memories of their dads being involved in their lives. They plan to do things differently."
The new sensibility reflects the convergence of many trends: Lots of today's young dads are the sons of working mothers and grew up with more flexible views about gender roles. Many of them have working wives -- who can afford to live on one income anymore? -- and are expected to help out on the home front. What's more, the workplace is no longer the rigid Monday-to-Friday, 9-to-5, in-the-office environment it used to be; technology has made it easier than ever to work anytime, anywhere.