In the old and traditional setup where fathers labored to provide food and shelter while the mothers took care of business inside the house, imagining the roles of a father is quite easy. Here is a list:
The father spends more time doing paid labor to provide the needs and wants of the family. He has to continuously hone his craft in his inherited or chosen career path, or be beaten through competition by other men in the field. Inventing tools and processes to make work easier contribute to his workplace and society as a whole, leading to innovation.
Children spend more time with their mother as compared to the father who works outside. When a child starts to get rowdy and disobedient, it is typically the father’s job to set the rules and straighten things out.
Danger is everywhere, and the father stands as the main protector of the family. He protects his family from wild and harmful animals, bandits, and flying cockroaches. In times of war, it is usually the father who is called to fight.
During those times, it is enough for fathers to fulfill these roles in the family and in society. These roles provided enough challenges and incentive for fathers to strive to grow and improve.
Fast-forward to the 21st century, more and more societies are starting to realize that enabling women, basically 50% of the population, is quite beneficial. We get more skilled workers, leading to greater economic development. Empowering them actually helps our fight against climate change.
Societies are now more open to women taking on the above mentioned roles. And with moms getting involved in more roles in society, some studies show that moms still take the greatest share of work when it comes to the household. This means that for dads, there are additional roles to fill to keep the balance.
In the traditional setup, tending to the house is primarily tasked on the mother because, after all, the house is left under her care. But now that moms also (have to) work on providing basic necessities, household chores need to be divided.
The Housekeeper is proactive when it comes to the house. If the wife cooks, he enjoys the food, and then takes care of the dishes after. He only excuses himself from dishwashing when he has bigger fish to fry, such as fixing the plumbing, patching holes in the roof, doing carpentry, and so on. If the couple agrees that some tasks should be delegated to professionals, then he shares in the responsibilities of acquiring their help or overseeing their work in his house.
The Housekeeper cooperates.
It is hard to argue against the idea that mothers are more suitable in this role than fathers, especially when it comes to babies. (A guy who can produce breast milk for his babies definitely has a fighting chance.) But just because moms perform better in this role doesn’t mean dads can just leave it up to them.
For babies, changing diapers, cleaning up after them, taking them to the doctors for vaccination and shots, and so on are the tasks happily handled by The Nurturer. When the children grow into their teens, he listens to their concerns and sets good examples and healthy life directions.
The Nurturer cares.
A research in 2010 aiming to discover why more young women in Utah, USA were not attending or dropping out from college discovered that a father’s influence has significant impact on their daughters’ college choices. The study found that girls who attend college and strive to graduate were more likely to have fathers who are supportive of their learning and education. Thus, a father’s influence in the household cannot be taken lightly.
A father as The Enabler supports his children and his wife to achieve their potential by contributing his time and resources into their personal endeavors. He assists in his children’s homework, allows time for mom to be with her girlfriends, pursue her dreams, and so on.
The Enabler empowers.
Fathers are viewed as the foundation of the family. While that has not changed, standing as a foundation of the modern day family requires the performance of additional parenting roles. After all, the contributions of a good and able father in a family cannot be taken lightly.
Asiyanbola, Abidemi (2005). Patriarchy, male dominance, the role and women empowerment in Nigeria. Retrieved from https://www.extension.harvard.edu/inside-extension/role-fathers-childhood-development
Kann, D; Houp, W; Jones, J; O’Key, S (2019). The most effective ways to curb climate change might surprise you. Retrieved from https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2019/04/specials/climate-change-solutions-quiz
Madsen, Susan; Hanewicz, Cheryl (2011). The Influence of a Father on a Daughter’s College Decision. Retrieved from https://www.uvu.edu/uwlp/docs/uwlpsnapshot2.pdf
Spetter, Dante. The Role of Fathers in Childhood Development. Retrieved from https://www.extension.harvard.edu/inside-extension/role-fathers-childhood-development