Thursday, February 21, 2008

Are Moms and Dads Really Ready For Change?

A few days back I was talking with a working mom who is newly pregnant. She's someone I really like and respect. Anyway, I asked her what she intended to do regarding maternity leave and she told me she expected that she would take a few weeks off from work. I then asked about her husband and it became quickly apparent that, aside from his taking a few days off, they hadn't really thought about it. I asked if she knew about the Family Medical Leave Act and also about the proven benefits of having a father involved as much as possible early on. What she said surprised me:

"You know, I don't think I'd want him around the house all the time like that."

This comes from a college educated woman who deeply loves her husband. She's also someone I would've have thought would be open to getting him more involved.

It's made me reevaluate my thinking a bit. Are people really open to change - even if the benefits to them and their family would be tremendous? Or are most people just satisfied with complaining about their unbalanced work/family lives and not willing to take that extra step to improve it?

It seems to me a pretty major truth that getting dads involved in the discussion about parental leave, flexible schedules, etc, would help further these causes. But do moms really want them in the discussion? Certainly, there are some forward thinking people who would definitely say 'Yes' but what about the majority?

My goal in making this film is to bring people together and to educate and inspire with new ways to get fathers more involved with their families - something everyone can benefit from; but what it comes down to is this: are moms and dads really interested in stepping out of their comfort zones to push this along?

I'm making The Evolution of Dad regardless. That's beside the point. But my greater goal is to help be a catalyst for change. If you agree with this intention it'd be great to hear from you. Thanks!


Drew said...

I sincerely and wholeheartedly agree with your statement. I believe that families have been 'stuck' by firmly established stereotypes that serve to increase unhappiness and perpetuate the 'feminine mystique.' I think the difficultly in making a film such as this is it will rock these entrenched ideas to the core of people's beings. Which is an all-together noble cause. Good luck.

Dana said...

Thanks, Drew. It's great to hear people like yourself in support of the 'cause.'


Backpacking Dad said...

Hi there. I just found your blog (during a random bit of blogger searching) and I've got to say I'm pretty excited about this project of yours.

I'm on the front lines, an at-home dad who socializes mostly with moms and I've been pretty encouraged by how supportive and inclusive most of them have been toward me. But I also know that somewhere outside of this little liberal-progressive enclave dads have a harder time choosing to be, and remaining, involved in the lives of their kids at the expense of their tangible contribution to the market.

I'm adding you to the Reader to keep up with your progress. You now have one more dad stalker.

Um. Supporter.