Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Between Mother's Day and Father's Day

I have been teaching Baby Basics courses for a long time. People naturally want to know how to diaper and swaddle and burp and bathe. Easy enough and I am sure ( although I haven't checked ) anyone can find very detailed instructions on a variety of websites. Grandparents want to know how we "do" things these days because times bring change. Babies don't sleep on their tummies anymore. So now, I have begun informing grandparents, in special classes designed just for them,  how to get current on the latest in childcare, in the twenty-first century.

I used to be amazed that there were actually folks out there who didn't know. Now, I have changed my tune. It's wonderful that dads and grandpas want to get it right. Taking care of an infant was almost exclusively "woman's work" just a generation ago. And most of us learned from our moms. In fact, dads were known to consider caring for their kids ( on those rare occasions ) as babysitting. Well, not anymore!

In this decade alone, the numbers and demographics of stay-at-home parents has changed dramatically. It used to be that a dad in the park or carpool line was an aberration. I would congratulate a dad in the grocery store for doing such a great job with his baby. No more. I see just as many dads and almost as many grandparents caring for young children.

In the sixties we fought for gender equality. But it was mighty difficult to teach little boys how to parent when it was done by mom, and not dad. Now the lines have blurred between Mother's Day and Father's Day. Hallmark may have to design cards for Parenting Day. In fact, everyday should be recognized as a day that celebrates parenting as a unisex activity.

Once we get unisex parenting down, we can move on to community parenting day and then hopefully, realizing that it indeed takes a village, we will understand that in every country on the planet parenting is a responsibility that is our best insurance plan for the future. Only by doing, will we truly appreciate what a monumental job taking care of children 24/7 for eighteen or so years really is. And how vital it is that everyone participate in the care and raising of the next generation. "Teach your children well" is done by doing not telling. Happy Parenting Days......