A few years ago I attended a conference in a midwestern city that focused on developing women as community leaders. There were only a few men in the room, and they had us spread out so there was rarely more than one guy at a table. Among the nine women at my table was one, let's call her "Rhonda", who was probably in her early 60s and had strong feelings on the many topics at hand.
One of those topics was the role men play as fathers and spouses in supporting the professional and communal endeavors of their wives. Rhonda, and others at the table (though not all) felt pretty strongly that the men she knew tended to be passive partners at best when it came to child rearing and support of their spouses in their own endeavors. In fact, she was pretty sure that women have to do it all - raise children, pursue professional goals, manage a house - on their own.
I took exception to that generalization, but viewed it as a generational thing. As I stated then - and firmly believe today - my male friends and peers take our roles as fathers and husbands very seriously. We respect our own fathers but, in general, go to great effort to maintain very different parenting and spousal styles. We not only want to be equal partners when it comes to parenting, we expect to be. We try, not always successfully but much more often than not, to make sure our actions match our intentions. And we firmly believe in our spouses pursuing their dreams - professional, personal, family and otherwise.
For some reason that I could never fathom Rhonda took great exception to this notion. Maybe her generation just wasn't there yet. Maybe her kids (my generation) didn't share this sentiment. Maybe there are fewer men who feel the way I do. Nonetheless, a few years and many experiences and conversatiosn with friends later, I stand by this notion.
This blog is intended to give voice to those guys who give considerable importance to their roles as husbands and fathers. I look forward to navigating these and the many other roles that today's men balance, sharing the experiences with you and looking for your feedback.
For those wondering, I've been married for 9 years to an independently successful woman. We have two boys - an almost-six-year-old and a five-month-old. I'm pretty sure that she understands that while I may not always be successful in balancing all those roles, I'm always trying to do the best I can. I can say with confidence that I couldn't even come close to succeeding without her extraordinary partnership.