Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Liberty for Dads

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Liberty for Dads

Article excerpt

In light of all the talk regarding extending fathers' leave, I would like to propose Liberty for Dads.

In recent years, America has re-invented fatherhood. Unfortunately, our workplace has not caught up to these changes.

There were 3,894,000 births in the United States last year, and as opposed to decades past, fathers attended the majority of these births. It used to be a baby came into the world while a father paced in the waiting room. Now he's there with his wife, often the first to hold the baby. But that's just the beginning. Bringing up baby is no longer women's work. Dads are there for the nitty- gritty: diapers, calming the baby at 3 a.m., and all the rest. These days, a dad is a juggler - which often leads to vexing questions of how he can allocate time between work and home life. Here's an example. This past tax day, April l5th, I was in a foul mood. It wasn't the tax payments that bothered me. Or the long postal line of grumbling New Yorkers breathing down one another's necks. It was that my five- year-old son was going on a school field trip to the Statue of Liberty ... and I wasn't going to be there with him. My wife and I had discussed it (rather heatedly) at breakfast. "This is your last chance to take your 5-year-old son on a school trip," she said. "Don't let it pass." "I've got a ton of stuff to do," I countered. "Well, I do too! So what? You can catch up later," she said, packing our son's lunch box. I wanted to say (but didn't), "Fathers can't get away with this sort of thing. They can't just take off a day every time there's a school trip - even if they'd like to." But the longer I stood in that post office line, rocking on my rollerblades, the more sure I became that I was making a mistake. Forget Return Receipt Requested! I bought some stamps from the vending machine, stuffed the envelopes into a mail slot, bolted out the door, and rollerbladed toward my kid's school. I got there, panting. "Where are the buses?" "You just missed them," the guard said. I bladed to the nearest avenue. There, six or eight blocks down, I spotted a blip of yellow buses. I huffed and puffed and pumped my arms and caught up with them at a traffic light. …

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