by Ryan Crawley for Dadspadblog.com
If you were not born roughly between 1980 to 2000, give or take a year, then you are not technically a millennial. And I am guessing that if you are a man and you were born in the 1970s or before, you view millennials a bit differently than they probably view themselves. One word that is often thrown around to describe millennials, specifically millennial men, is soft. It, of course, is a generalization of millennial men and is not accurate for all, but this is how quite a few are thought of by men born before them.
Millennials are responsible for 80 percent of total births currently. They are definitely in the family raising age right now. But how does that translate over for young millennial parents that are also labeled derogatorily as coming from Generation Me. Below are a few reasons why millennial fathers might just turn out to be pretty great.
Millennial Fathers Were Raised in an Age of Equality
Back in the day, the mother and father had certain roles they were expected to fulfill in the family. The father was the provider, the protector, and the breadwinner. They were the one that were expected to make the most money out of the two parents. The father was the person to make the financial decisions and the mother was there to support his decision.
The mother was expected to be the one that was most concerned about the closeness of the family. They were there to provide comfort when needed, a clean house and clothes, and to make sure there was food ready on the table. This may sound a bit archaic, but if you doubt any of this, go back and watch the old television shows of the 1950s and 60s. Millennial men were not brought up in this generation.
Millennial men were probably raised differently. More of them were brought up by single parents rather than a traditional family than ever before. All the family roles there used to be were now a part of the past. They were raised in an era of equality. There are no real defined roles of father being the breadwinner and mother being the one to offer emotional support. All the parenting responsibilities are now intertwined. Millennial fathers will be better off for it.
Spending More Time with the Children
In the past, the father would work late at the office. They would play golf on the weekends. They would work overtime at the drop of a hat. All of that has mostly changed where it is no longer set in stone.
Millennial mothers now make just as much from their careers as fathers do. With the finances split in half between the parents, this means that the father now has more time to spend with the kids than they might have in the past. Raising the children is now a tag team activity with both parents working together or taking turns. In fact, according to the market research company Mintel, 49 percent of millennial fathers plan play dates and other activities with their kids. Playground supervision is no longer a mothers only thing. It’s fathers pushing the children on swings and catching them as they come down the slide.
There was a time when stay-at-home fathers just never existed. It was difficult to even fathom such a thing. Men were the ones working and making money for the family. Women were the ones to stay home and raise the kids. A man’s pride was at stake if the situation was reversed.
Slowly, this concept started to change a bit. In 1983, a film came out starring Michael Keaton called Mr. Mom. In the movie, a father gets fired from his job in the car industry and the mother is able to find work before he does. Because of this, they switch roles so she is the provider of the family and he is… Mr. Mom! Of course, the hilarity ensues as he becomes the homemaker and caretaker to their three kids. But you see, even back then it was fodder for humor.
My, how time has changed! According to the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C., there are over 2 million fathers that stay at home to raise the family as their wives are the sole breadwinner and go off to work. It is a little bit less than ten percent of all fathers, but 25 years ago that number was only at four percent. Millennial fathers seem fine with the role changes that used to be a thing of the past. They may get labeled as soft, but being able to put your ego aside is actually one of the hardest things you can do.