My husband is far from the father I thought he would be.
When I met Aaron, he had long hair, black Converse, and skulls hanging from his rear view mirror. He talked of never getting married, never adding to the world’s “problems” with more children, and he refused to say “I love you.”
Today he took both of our “problems” in the front yard to fly a kite. They ran around chasing him, and he kept scooping each child up, doting on them with kisses, “I love you’s,” and snuggles.
As they ran around, chasing the diamond with tails in the sky, I silently thanked society for allowing men to become more involved in parenting. Our fathers may have flown kites with us, but did they change diapers? Do the dishes consistently? Take ALL the kids grocery shopping every Sunday? Clean up toys?
My Dad was amazing, and gave us tons of love and affection. But he came from a very different school of thought and a different time. Men were involved in parenting, but not necessarily in the trenches of dirty diapers and administration of antibiotics.
Today’s father is delving even further into the fray as the father’s before him. It’s no longer “sissy” for him to show off his technique for swaddling. He can feel secure and proud carrying around your pink diaper bag while carrying the baby in a sling. He’s even sharing war stories of “who got peed/pooped on” with other soldiers over coffee at the office.
The National Fatherhood Initiative says children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid high-risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy, and criminal activity compared to children who have uninvolved fathers.
Now if we could only get them to give birth.
Erin Kotecki Vest lives in Southern California and is a writer and stay-at-home Mom of Jackson, three, and Hala, one. She spent nearly a decade as a news reporter and anchor in Orlando and Los Angeles.