Parents: Two equal parts. But are they? Doesn’t it seem that there is a lot more talk (research, articles, Google searches, you name it) about mothers than fathers?
Why should that be? It might be because children develop in their mother’s womb for 40 weeks, creating an indelible bond. In many cases babies get all their nutrients for the first months of their lives from their mother’s breast milk. And there is that old “maternal instinct” and the popular view of mothers as the primary caregivers. Many women say becoming a mother changes them fundamentally.
But what about dads? Fathers may not carry babies as they develop from a small number of cells into a human being but “a research study from UNC School of Medicine reveals that although we inherit equal amounts of genetic mutations from our parents — the mutations that make us who we are and not some other person — we actually “use” more of the DNA that we inherit from our dads.” It is our Dad’s genes who determine if we will be a boy or girl after all!
Wow! Our fathers have a huge impact on us even before we are born! But what about the impact of having children on men? Whilst fathers of newborns and young children might feel overly tired and exposed to every germ going, research says fathers are healthier and live longer than men that are not fathers. There is even research that says having children impacts male hormone levels and brains, although not as dramatically as mothers. Most fathers would agree it materially impacts the way they spend their time and money. And even though it is not easy to make these types of “sacrifices”, most would say the rewards of being a father more than compensate.
Current ideas of what being a father means are rather recent. The roles of father – including the amount of time fathers spend with their children – has changed a lot over the ages. Interestingly, Wikipedia’s page on fathers talks specifically about the impacts of the wars in the last century and government intervention on the role of fathers in Canada.
However, families – including the roles of fathers – are so diverse and society is increasingly accepting of whatever model is chosen and works. This is progress. But it also makes it impossible to describe what makes dads so great. Dads, like mom’s, provide security, support and discipline. They are serious sometimes, yet silly other times. They let us figure things out for ourselves in some cases, and guide us to the best answer in others. They love us unconditionally.
Hurrah for fathers! Whilst we should and do appreciate our dads every day, thank goodness there is a special day – Father’s Day – designated for us to take a moment to very deliberately celebrate our Dad’s! There are lots of ways to celebrate Father’s Day. One that we particularly liked is to celebrate Father’s Day with a book.
Well make that two books! One book that Dad has been dying to read. And one book that Dad can read to the kids. Reading to kids has so many benefits for their development but it is also a really special way to bond.
This Father’s Day, take the time to communicate all the ways that the dad in your life makes a difference, and say thank you!
No one can replace Dad, or Mom for that matter. But sometimes, families need a little support – whether it is with housekeeping or caring for a senior loved one, a loved one with special needs or the kids. SOSitter.ca is a Canadian portal designed to help you find local caregivers in your area, easily and quickly. The caregiver who is right for your family is only a click away.