Celebrating 21st Century Fatherhood
When we think of what makes a father, things that may come to mind include “protector,” “provider,” and “head of the household.” While these ideas often still ring true, over time the idea of fatherhood has expanded to so much more than just these classic ideals. As gender roles evolve, economic situations fluctuate, and a greater range of family structures become normalized, we are living in a time where father figures come in all forms and we think they all deserve celebration and appreciation this coming Father’s Day and every other day for that matter!
One of the biggest shifts made with 21st century fatherhood are fathers as primary caregivers. Traditionally seen as a mother’s duty, with many women now in higher paying jobs, paternal leave being extended and becoming more accessible in some places, and high costs of child care, many fathers are choosing to stay at home with their children during infancy. This in turn has families practicing more balanced household roles with fathers being more active in cooking, cleaning and maintaining the home. Dads are really doing it all!
Additionally, it is important to recognize that not all families have the traditional father/mother set up. Same-sex parenting and single fatherhood are becoming more socially accepted which automatically puts men into roles that society has traditionally placed upon women. We are living in an exciting age where fathers being hands-on and present in child rearing is being celebrated in a way it never has been before.
Step-fathers, grandfathers and uncles often raise children that are not biologically theirs as well and deserve to be celebrated. With blended families, adoption and fostering all a significant part of today’s societal fabric, blood relation does not hold the same importance as it historically has. While “father” traditionally was a word meant solely to refer to who you biologically came from, this word is now used by many not only in a biological context, but as a word of endearment and love to special men in their lives who have raised them. This may be a biological father, but can also be a step-dad, foster-dad, close family friend or an extended family member such as an uncle who has stepped into that father role for a variety of reasons.
So, to all father figures out there, we love and appreciate you in all the forms you come in! Happy Father’s Day!