The Thinking 

From ‘Father Knows Best’ to ‘Dad’s a Fool’

December 11, 2012


JODI writes:

I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now and quite like what I see. It is refreshing to read common sense for a change. Thank you for your effort to be a light in this dark, ugly world.

I found this image on a friend’s site today. Is it just me or do these men look completely stripped of their manhood? They look so uncomfortable and out of place. Don’t get me wrong, I love when my husband cares for our son. When my son was a small baby like the babes being worn in this picture, there was no way he’d be alone with daddy — I had to nurse him. Now that my son is over a year old he loves to play with dad, but they bond in a much different way than with me.

Laura writes:

Thank you.

I’m not sure what TV show or movie that portrays. (Is it a show called “Baby Daddy?“) Perhaps readers are familiar with it. But it obviously is poking fun at the idea of fathers taking care of babies, not endorsing it.

Has there ever been a show or movie that was successful in making a “Baby Daddy” desirable rather than ridiculous or strange?  Journalists have promoted the idea of men in maternal roles for years, but it remains patently absurd — despite the worthy exceptions.

— Comments —-

Charlotte writes:

I am a long-time reader of your blog and would like to thank you for the time you spend writing such inspiring posts. In relation to this photo picturing four men with their children, the movie that this photo comes from is What to Expect When You’re Expecting, a recent 2012 release based on a book by the same title. I have not seen it and am not planning to! I hope this is helpful.

Laura writes:

Thank you.

L.C. writes:

I confess, my husband has indeed worn both our children in baby carriers. I don’t think this makes him look foolish, but it shouldn’t happen too much more now that I will not be attending school alongside him. What to Expect When Expecting is a book I carefully avoid, and I can’t imagine the movie has much better advice in it. My true reason for writing, however, is because the men in this photo DO look foolish. People who know much of anything about wearing their babies know better than to have their kids facing forward–the carriers designed to allow it are referred to as “crotch danglers” and can contribute to hip dysplasia. My husband knows better, and I don’t think his knowledge of childcare makes him any less masculine (he occasionally jokes about writing a book called “Jiu Jitsu for Parents” because he occasionally implements his martial art into childrearing). I could be wrong, though.

 Laura writes:

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with men carrying babies in baby carriers either. Maybe I was wrong, but I thought the picture conveyed that the men were in charge of taking care of their children during the day.

Jill Farris writes:

In the 1980s our first baby was born and I joined a mom’s group particularly geared for moms of infants and toddlers. At a number of our meetings, a young father came with his toddler. He was a stay-at-home dad and proud of it. I found his presence at our meetings as creepy and unnatural as a man walking into a woman’s restroom. I had a very hard time taking him seriously….what a pansy!

I still feel that way and would have a hard time respecting my husband if he contentedly stayed at home with our children. My husband loves our children but he cannot cope with our children and the many tasks in our home as effectively as I can. He has a manly single mindedness about getting things done that does not allow for the constant distraction of children. He simply doesn’t have that ability but he’s still a great dad!

I am alarmed at the number of Christian couples who are doing what they think makes sense economically and sending the mom with the better job out to work. This is something that should not be! My husband makes a very comfortable living now but it took him many years of striving away when it didn’t make sense economically, to develop his skills, grow in leadership and in confidence.

Last time I checked, the dominion mandate in Genesis had not been revoked!

Laura writes:

I found his presence at our meetings as creepy and unnatural as a man walking into a woman’s restroom.


Guilain writes:

About dads carrying their baby, I’m not okay with it in certain circumstances. In any place where a dangerous encounter might happen, I find it a really bad idea.

Recently, I saw a couple in the street. The man was carrying a baby, wrapped in some sort of scarf, on his chest. I thought, what if a drunk bum or a thug starts to behave aggressively? Of course in some areas, this kind of dangers are virtually non-existent. I would not be shocked by a man carrying his baby in a small village in Switzerland.

Though, whatever the context, I think not every baby carrying system is suitable for a man. Some are designed to create a physical fusion between the baby and the carrier. Sometimes, the child nearly disappears in the woman’s breast (which makes me wonder if he can breathe).

Having no babies yet, I’m not an expert in daddy/baby relationships, but I would say that physical fusion is a mommy/baby thing.

Laura writes:

Very good points.

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