Amid the recent media buzz about whether or not women can balance work with family and “have it all”, one man wonders why his gender is never the center of this balancing controversy.
In Relevant’s “Why Men Can’t Have It All,” pastor Peter Chin makes an interesting observation: “no one expects men to be as involved in parenting as women.” He goes on to write:
When someone tells you or implies that you can’t do something well, that’s not a cause for celebration. Men should not feel emancipated because everyone believes they are only mildly competent as caregivers. That’s an insult. That means that people assume you can’t do a good job, that you aren’t as capable or committed or loving and patient as your spouse. It diminishes the importance of fatherhood, and ridicules the abilities of fathers.
This perception is further perpetuated by the media, which consistently portrays fathers as utter domestic fools. I recently saw a commercial for a new comedy where three men struggled to give a baby a bottle, a modern take on the old joke, “How many incompetent ______ does it take to screw in a light bulb?” This may seem harmless, but in reality, is a terribly destructive stereotype. Many men buy into this mentality or stereotype without thought, and assume that they are not good caregivers, that not much is expected from them as fathers, that they are bumbling fools when it comes to family. We tell ourselves, “Sure, we can be good CEO’s, but we’re not cut out to be fathers.”
Now, tell me how that is any different or less insulting than telling a women the opposite: “Sure, you’re a good mother, but you’re not cut out to be a CEO.”
I wish someone would write articles questioning whether men could have it all because that would mean that we are finally taking fatherhood seriously, and seeing it as a role that requires such commitment that there is a very real chance that it cannot be balanced with professional ambition. I wish men would fill online blogs with their anguished attempts at living both callings, because that would mean that we are giving fatherhood the time and attention that it deserves, and are no longer selling ourselves short. God knows that there are so many communities where fatherhood needs to be taken far more seriously, not less.
Chin’s entire article is read worthy.
What do you think? Why don’t we as a culture worry about whether or not men can have it all? Is it because we value motherhood more than fatherhood?
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