Sunday, June 16th is a day to celebrate our relationship with our Father. Being in my fifties, I am amazed how the role of fatherhood has changed over the years. The traditional Dad I grew up with was the role-model from the TV shows, Ozzie and Harriet or Leave it to Beaver. The father worked as the sole wage-earner while the mother, in a sweet little “house dress,” did all the cooking, cleaning, nurturing and childcare.
In my home, being one of four siblings, the stereotypical roles existed, however my mom did not wear the house dress. By the time I turned eighteen and entered Penn State University, upon graduation, us young women were now in the “superwoman” generation; and as quoted from the well-known TV commercial, we were to, “bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never, ever let you forget you’re a man….” So Dad still went off to work, and came home and relaxed, while the mother worked full or part-time, and still did all the cooking, cleaning, and childcare. That was an extremely difficult state of being, and wreaked havoc with a lot of marriages, thus spiking the divorce rates. Our children watched their over-worked, divorced moms suffer, and many fathers became disengaged, part-time, weekend Dads.
Today, I watch my 32-year old, son-in-law Charles Ferrell, be an ideal father and husband. My daughter Stephana just had their baby boy, Logan on April 21st, and I celebrate becoming a first-time Grand-mom! I watched Charles stay by Stephana’s side not only throughout her delivery, but also slept overnight at the hospital during her after-care. He took childcare classes, equally changes the diapers, wakes up for feedings, and takes Logan when he is fussy. He took the week off from work, because now father’s have family rights, along with mothers. How wonderful these changes are! Logan and Charles have a super strong bond, due to his equal involvement in raising their son, and I commend him on what a wonderful father he is!
In my therapy practice, I see separated and divorced dads fighting for equal time, and not settling for just weekends with their kids. They are becoming more involved as coaches and spend real quality time with their children. Even in relationships where the couple never married, I have one gentleman of a seven-year relationship that no longer exists, still taking on the full-time role as Father to his 16-year old “daughter” who he mentors and is actively raising on a daily basis. I see men doing equal cooking, cleaning, household chores, and driving the children. Families have become full partnerships today, which is so necessary to have a successful marriage and happy family life.
My father, Jack Milne, who I loved and adored, passed away when I was only 28, but I always celebrate the valuable, life-changing lessons he taught me, which are mentioned in my book, Live Beyond your Dreams – from Fear and Doubt to Personal Power, Purpose, and Success. I also honor my step-father, Joe Ryan, age 90, of Ocean City, NJ who has been my Dad for 28-year years. The role of “Dad” is a cherished and important one. I rejoice in the fact that the stereotypical, semi-involved Dad has evolved into an extremely committed father who insists on having a special, quality relationship with their children, despite their marital situation. To all those wonderful, “new-age” Dads, Happy Father’s Day!
Riana Mine is a Marriage/Family Therapist at Therapy by the Sea, LLC; a Certified Relationship Coach, author, and motivational speaker in Egg Harbor Township, NJ. Her column, My Relationship Coach will discuss the relationship you have with yourself and others. Her free App: My Relationship Coach offers more articles and her book, Live Beyond Your Dreams – from Fear and Doubt to Personal Power, Purpose and Success, addresses various relationships. To learn more or suggest a topic, go to www.RianaMilne.com or email RianaMilne@gmail.com