A friend of mine suggested I start a blog. So I did. And, obviously, you’ve found it.
That same friend happens to be an amazing writer, by the way, so please bookmark http://urbanbehavior.wordpress.com/ – it’s a great read, and probably an even greater read if you live in the Chicago area.
You should probably know the following about me:
I live in Indiana. I have two kids. I’m going to have three kids real-soon-now (read: in November). I have an incredibly patient wife.
We’re all familiar with the overused idiom, ‘a fine line’. Well, I’ve titled this blog ‘The Fine Line’, not only to continue its overuse, but also because it’s an accurate reflection of what parenting is. As parents, we are always walking a fine line; be it between genius and madness, joy and disappointment, success and failure. It is a delicate dance. I hope to use this blog to communicate my experiences as a parent and, perhaps more importantly, as a father in a generation that is experiencing a paradigm shift in what ‘fatherhood’ means.
The role that American fathers play has changed significantly in the past 30 years, and I have the good fortune of raising kids at a time when the definition of modern fatherhood is still hanging somewhere out there in no-man’s land. There are a lot of adjectives that are commonly associated with fatherhood. You’ll hear ‘amazing’, ‘wonderful’, and probably an ‘awesome’ thrown in here and there. But you rarely, if ever, hear ‘awkward’, ‘confusing’, ‘difficult’. They’re fitting adjectives though – and here’s why:
Boston College conducted a study on fatherhood recently and the findings were surprising. They found that fathers spend an incredible amount of time with their children (an average of 3.3 hours daily), and that having children is hands-down the most incredibly-super-awesome thing in their universe. Good job dads! What’s interesting, though, is that they found that the men in the study exaggerated their asses off. They all wanted to sound like super-dad. This wouldn’t be so interesting if it weren’t for the fact that 30 years ago the exact opposite was true. In a similar study, men exaggerated their asses off – in the opposite direction. They made themselves sound detached and cool – “Kids? Yeah. I got ‘em. What’s it to you?”. They weren’t spending time with their kids. They were hanging around with their man friends, doing manly things. It’s what their fathers did, after all.
So now we’re in a sort of period of transition. We want to be good, involved fathers. Super-dads. But often we’re not exactly sure what that means. Most of us did not have good mentors for this position. That’s not to say we didn’t have good dads – it’s just that at the McDonald’s of life they worked the grill; now we need to work the grill and the front counter. It’s sort of like fumbling around in the dark for the light switch. Naked. In the middle of a forest. We’re torn between an archetypal bring-home-the-bacon model and Mr. Mom. It doesn’t help that a good share of the corporate world isn’t hip to this new vision of fatherhood, either.
That’s an incredibly long and rambling way of saying that I hope you’ll come along with me as I chronicle the ups and downs of fatherhood.
I have to go now. I’m pretty sure someone just peed on the couch. Again.