I was reading the June issue of PARENTS magazine and came across a very interesting article titled The New Face of Fatherhood. It is a great article describing the 21st-century father, a guy who proudly wears spit-up on his shoulder as a battle scar, not an embarrassing stain. The article describes how today’s father is much more involved with the care and activities of his children, especially when compared to the fathers of 30 years ago. Though their numbers are small, more guys than ever are scaling back on work or quitting altogether to help raise a family.
The fathers of 30 years ago spent an average of 2.6 hours a week with their children. Is this just unbelievable or what? The fathers of today are so much more involved that they spend an average of 6.5 hours a week with their children. This is more than double their predecessors! Wow huh?? I don’t think so but it is a start.
My feeling is this. Just remember that I am very opinionated and tell it like I see it. I figure that even if a father (or mother) works 12 hours a day, say Monday through Friday, 60 hours a week, they could “squeeze” in at least 1 hour a day during the week. That leaves the weekend. If they do not work then there are, say, 8 hours both days. For the week I figure there are 21 hours that a father or mother could spend with their kids. That is based on a 60 hour work week. For a 40 hour work week the number should be minimum of 30 hours per week spent with children. Bottom line is that whether it is 15, 20, or 30 hours, fathers should spend lots more time with their children than 2.6 or 6.5 hours.
My point is that no matter how many hours a father worked, today or 30 years ago, there are way more hours available to spend with children than 2.6 or 6.5 hours a week! What were/are these guys doing the rest of the time that was/is more important? Working out? I think not with the epidemic of obesity going on. Hanging out at the bar? Hanging with friends? Watching TV? Fixing the car? Spending time with other women? Working more on acquiring their vast fortunes (at the expense of their kids)?
This stay at home Dad doesn’t mean to sound like a holier than thou father but I cannot imagine only spending so little time with my kids. The thought of it turns my stomach and fathers (and mothers) who spend so little time with their kids should really be ashamed of themselves. The ills of society, I feel, can be traced right back to the home. It is not the government, our schools, the media, racism, sexism, or society as a whole for the problems that plague us. It is the fathers who abandon their kids leaving the mother to raise them alone. It is the fathers that don’t even know how many kids they have or with whom. It is the fathers that devote their lives to their work and not their families. It is the abusive fathers, the absent fathers, the uninvolved and apathetic fathers (and mothers) that cause their kids to go astray. Shame on them! And to say that 6.5 hours per week is good, well, not in my book it is not.
At this point I have to put in a word regarding Melissa. Melissa, my wife and Emma’s mother, is very devoted to her job. Her success is a result of this dedication. In fact, her dedication sometimes gets on my nerves as she is sometimes working even when she is home. With this in mind, she makes every effort in the world to spend time with Emma when she gets home from work as well as on the weekends. To imagine her spending only 2.6 or 6.5 hours a week with Emma is completely unfathomable to say the least. She is a great Mom to my daughter and I am very proud of her.
Well, Melissa was out of town for 3 nights last week and it turned out OK. I always get nervous when she goes out of town because Emma wants her Mommy when she goes to bed at night. She turned out to be an angel and did a great job going to bed for Daddy. She had her moments and it was not a walk in the park since she is older and goes almost non-stop. Since we have minimal assistance (I have addressed this a bit in the past) and since Emma’s cousins were busy last week, I had to entertain her the whole time. The amount of hours I spent with her puts the article I mentioned into perspective.
Lets see, 82 total hours minus about 32 hours for sleep and naps leaves the time I spent with her for those 4 days at 50 hours. I spent enough time with Emma those 4 days as the father of today described in that article spends with his kids for 8 weeks. I spent enough time as the father of 30 years ago spent with his kids for more than 16 weeks! Unreal…..
The word that Emma has liked using the last week or so is Hebeedopter(Helicopter). This girl loves watching planes and helicopters! The last week when the weather was nice, we spent lots of time outside. The news helicopter is based at Schaumburg airport(nearby) and flies overhead lots of the time and when Emma hears it coming her radar goes into overdrive! She will keep watching it until it disappears and will remind me that it flew by for a good long time afterward. I’m thinking that maybe she will be the pilot I always wanted to be.