In recent years, a lot has been written about the changing roles of men. Studies by Families and Work Institute have shown that “young women and men alike are challenging traditional roles and expecting to share paid work, as well as tending the house and children. Working fathers are spending more time with their children than three decades ago, and men in general are taking more responsibility for their children’s childcare which includes managing the child care arrangements. More men are taking care of house chores and house cleaning too.”
These findings point to the fact that it has become more socially acceptable for men to say they are involved with child care and help around the house. An NPR article on single fathers published in June, 2012, points to a new trend emerging among men. Now with more stay-at-home dads and fathers spending more time with kids, men are finding their culturally accepted ability to be involved as fathers, with some even choosing to become fathers alone without a mother or partner.
This is a new frontier in our culture and these courageous men are breaking stereotypes. We have heard about the biological clock ticking for women as they approach their late 30’s and their concerns with having a child. Many women choose to have kids at this stage of their lives without a mate and they become single parents. We are now seeing this happen to men around 40 years of age.
Men are deciding to be dads and are going at it alone. Although they may have an overwhelming desire to be in a relationship, if the right person doesn’t show up they don’t wait. They move on and adopt a child or have a kid with a surrogate mother. They face people’s assumptions about fatherhood and families from people at work and in general.
It is obvious that our society has bias about a man’ ability to care for a child when there is no woman involved and his intention to be the sole caretaker. Men who decide to break this stereotype need support. There is hotline recently started by a dad by choice, called 411-4-DAD, for prospective single men who are considering becoming dads that receives more that 30 calls a month.
It will be interesting to see if this new trend among men of becoming single dads helps to push work/life initiatives inside companies. As men become more involved at home, their work/life conflict increases.