The article “Just Don’t Call Me Mr.Mom” by Brian Braiker from Newsweek (MSNBC.com), volunteer babysitter of his own child, gives a deep insight into the problem of upbringing children and stereotypical attitude in terms of gender roles and generation gap. He tells a story of his own family and experience when due to the fact of his wife’s successful promotion and professional activity immediately after the birth of their baby, Brian had to stay at home and take care of the newborn baby. Since that time he has learnt how to change diapers, when to feed the child, in what ways to calm the crying baby down, and so on. In his article he emphasizes the generation gap problem as none of his elderly parents understands his behavior and the switch of responsibilities in their son’s family. Statistics shows that modern fathers spend about six hours per week with their spawns, unlike their 1960’s ancestors who would spend around 2 hours weekly entertaining their small children. Sociologists claim that the main reasons of fathers being actively involved in parenting include:
to share warmth and love,
to ensure safety and instructions,
to explain moral values (Grandwil 2003).
In his article Brian Braiker mentions a researcher from Minnesota’s Department for Families and Children’s Services as one of those social institutions which deals with social welfare and facilitates those who require help in terms of parenting, babysitting conducting numerous studies and investigations. Braiker states that
…they (fathers) are willing to fight for it: since the mid-1990s, the number of men and women suing their employers for family leave has soared 300 percent. Men make up a growing segment of that group—11 percent, compared with 5 percent a decade ago.
Sociological aspects in the article are stated clearly because the issue itself is associated not only with financial difficulties but also with gender roles in the society. Historically, it has been customary to have a man as a head of the family and major breadwinner who was taking care of finances. Meanwhile, the woman was considered to be responsible for upbringing children the number of which could have exceeded five. During the course of the years, especially closer to the end of the XXth century, the responsibilities of men and women in the family have changed greatly because of global emancipation and vast majority of career opportunities and job vacancies available for women (Brown 2005).
Another sociological issue in the article relates to publicity and how the problem of parenting is covered in newspapers, magazines, and other mass media. According to Braiker’s observations there are still a significant number of stereotypes that rule many of public opinions. The movie “Mr. Mom” (1983) by Michael Keaton has to great extend contributed to the development of prejudices and stereotypical attitude toward untypical parenting. Many sociologists believe that parenting newspapers, sites and magazines often claim something like “We know what mothers need” procrastinating the fact of male existence in the role of the farther. The author of the article compares this feature to New York Times potential logo such as “Any article menfolk may dream of!”
With these preliminary considerations in mind it would be fair to note that women’s role in modern society is no longer limited by upbringing their children. The conditions and standards of living have forced them to help their husbands to maintain families and search for additional part-time or full-time job. However, some of them have become so involved in career and in chase of earnings that they started sharing “their” stereotypical responsibilities with their husbands.
Brown, J. (2005). Men And Women. New York: Pocket Books.
Grandwil, K. (2003). Gender Roles In Modern Society. New York: Pocket Books.
Willbrand, P., & Helpenstell, R. (2000). Parenting And Its Influence On Families. New York: Pocket Books.
Braiker, B. (2007). Just Don’t Call Me Mr. Mom. Retrieved October 12, 2007, from MSNBC Web site: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21047651/site/newsweek/