A Little Something for/about Host Dads…

by cv harquail on June 3, 2009

Okay Host Dads, it being June and all, here’s a little info treat about– you guessed it– being a dad. Maybe the rest of us moms need to read it too so that we can be more sympathetic. ;-)

The Daddy Brain

Moms aren’t the only ones whose bodies change after having a baby. Jeremy Adam Smith reveals the new science of fatherhood.

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"… The new science of fatherhood has started to cast Gopal’s dilemma in a new light. In researching my new book, The Daddy Shift, I read every word I could find in peer-reviewed scholarly journals about caregiving fathers, breadwinning moms, and the science of sexual difference. I also interviewed dozens of parents like Gopal and Martha.

Here’s what I discovered: Where once it was thought that the minds and bodies of men were hardly affected by fatherhood, today scientists are discovering that fatherhood changes men down to the cellular level. For more than a century, it was assumed that mothers, not fathers, were solely responsible for the care, life chances, and happiness of children. In recent years, however, we have discovered that father involvement is essential to a child’s well being, and that dads provide unique kinds of care and play that mothers often do not.

As a result, scientists and parents alike are developing a radical new conception of fatherhood, one whose role is not limited to contributing sperm and making money. This should be a comfort to us all during a time of economic catastrophe, when 80 percent of people being laid off are men and tens of thousands of fathers are being thrown into new roles at home. Women have been supporting families for decades, taking on breadwinning roles that were once considered impossible. And after 30 years of research and growing male participation at home, we are now also beginning to understand that fathers can also take on roles as caregivers."

Click here for the rest of the article.  (From the Greater Good magazine.)

Although many of us moms are completely nonplussed by the idea that – gasp- men can be caregivers! the rest of the article is pretty intriguing.  I just hope that, despite the argument that "dads provide unique kinds of care and play that mothers often do not", which may be true, the book is sensitive to situations of families and children that don’t have dads, like single parent moms and two-mom families.

See also:  The Daddy Identity Crisis, by Lisa Belkin, an interview in the NYT.

Thoughts moms? Dads?

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