Hi - my name is Kate; I am a gender expert, writer, and Advisor for the Gender Equality subgroup at Fathering Together. To celebrate Father’s Day and #MoreThanANecktie, I’m talking to 10 dads over 10 weeks about what it really means to be an engaged father. If you like this series, you can read more on gender (in)equality. Website. Twitter.
Location: Pittsburg, PA
Ages of Kids: 7 & 7
I asked every dad I interviewed what they thought about the term “caregiving” as it relates to being a father.
Steve does not think the words parenting and caregiving are synonymous. He sees caregiving as a choice, and parenting as a responsibility. He doesn’t necessarily think of himself as a caregiver – he thinks of himself as a father.
A lesson learned about fertility.
Steve and I talked about the years it took him and his wife to conceive, the pain of a miscarriage, and the emotional roller-coaster that comes with six years of fertility treatments. Certainly, the miscarriage was devastating for his wife, but it was devastating for him, too. Steve wanted to be a dad as desperately as his wife wanted to be a mom.
Perhaps it was because it took so long for him to become a father, but he doesn’t take his role for granted. When the twins were born, he took a new job where he could work from home and be a more present dad. Steve has never once looked at the situation as “giving something up.” Instead, he is grateful for the time he has with his kids. He has learned that there has never has been, or never will be, a job or a title as important to him as being a father.
Advice on making a mistake.
Steve openly admits that as wonderful as parenting is, it can also be frustrating. We all get tired, we all make mistakes, we all yell when we shouldn’t. But he tells himself – and teaches his kids - that everyone is allowed to be upset, and feel what they need to feel. But it is what we do with those feelings that matter. When Steve loses his temper, he is always quick to apologize and admit his mistake.
My favorite quote from Steve’s interview:
“I was raised by a single mom. There were no gender roles, it was just about doing what needed to get done. We were a team. I take those lessons from my mom and use them in my own family today. There is no task that I won’t do because I am male. Nothing is beneath me.”
If Steve’s quote resonated with you, you might want to check out the Fathering Together community on Dads for Gender Equity.
The next Dads Who Care article will be posted next Friday, July 23