The millennial dad is the epitome of progress. While many dismiss millennial men as "soft," the new millennial man is an important step towards equality. He isn't a "softer version of what men used to be," he's the kind of man who respects women and is equally present in all aspects of a relationship. Millennial men are redefining partnership and parenting, too. They are more involved, more in-tune, and more aware. So, yeah, in my opinion millennial dads are the best dads ever, because they have realized there is much more to parenting than just fiscal support. Instead, they recognize that in addition to financial support (sometimes, although not always in many cases) they're also responsible for raising and guiding their kids through childhood and into adulthood.
The Baby Boomer dads, born between 1946-1964, are not really known for their involved parenting style. Although this is a generalization, and many Baby Boomer dads were involved in their kids' lives, generalizations are important to note when measuring progress. Generally, Baby Boomer dads worked long hours, didn't come home until the kids were almost in bed, and had very little involvement in actual parenting and household chores. These dads were the "rule makers" and the "disciplinarians."
Baby Boomers were also children of war, raised by men who have been through war, taught that "crying was for wusses," told that real men must "act like men," and believed "women's work" was an actual thing. They watched their mothers subservience to their fathers and saw them stay home and cook and clean. This is how Baby Boomers were brought up.
The Baby Boomer women, however, watched their mothers relentlessly give up their freedoms for their husbands and witnessed their husbands be virtually absent from parenting and housework. As a result, they raised their sons (who are millennial men) with the mindset of equality. They made sure their sons respected, supported, and cherished women. They made sure their sons were better husbands and fathers than their own husbands and fathers. This, dear reader, is what progress looks like.
Sure, this is all, again, a generalization. I cannot claim that all millennial men are one way — progressive, feminist, down with equality and inclusiveness, or even involved in their children's lives — or that there still isn't a boatload of work to be done when it comes to gender equality and shared parenting responsibilities. However, it does seem like more and more fathers are changing what society thinks "fatherhood" should look like or mean. They're present, they're involved, and they're, you know, parents.
Because They're Embracing Fatherhood
The parks, the school events, and parent-teacher conferences are all overflowing with dads. While a few decades ago moms made up the majority of the crowed at any kid event, today's dads and moms are equally present. According to a small BabyCenter study, 87 percent of millennial dads play with their kids, 58 percent attend kids' activities, and 26 percent are primary caregivers.
Because They're Involved
The huge push in the corporate world for work-life balance has created a shift in how much time dads spend with their children. Since millennial dads aren't working well into the evening, they are now at home taking an equal part in parenting. Millennial dads are setting rules and boundaries, potty training their toddlers, taking their kids to activities, and picking up their infants from daycare. They bathe their kids, change diapers, and read bedtime stories.
Because They're Supportive
Millennial dads do their research. They read parenting blogs, they watch instructional videos on YouTube, they read about breastfeeding, postpartum depression, and how to care for newborns. They educate themselves in parenting like their dads (probably) never did. They want to be there for their partners in every way. They want to support their partners as much as necessary.
Because They Appreciate Their Partners
Millennial dads know how valuable their partners are. They realize how hard mothers work and how much they sacrifice for their children. They often show their appreciation in ways that help their partners. They may take the kids out for the day and let the mom decompress in a nice quiet home. They are more sensitive to their partner's needs than ever before.
Because They Dismiss Gender Stereotypes
The millennial man is a great dad and a partner because he does not subscribe to the "traditional" gender stereotypes. He doesn't walk around believing in "men's work" and "women's work." He doesn't shy away from household responsibilities or from other family roles. He cooks, cleans, goes grocery shopping, and basically shares the burden of the work.
Because They Play With Their Kids
According to Mintel, 49 percent of millennial dads plan playdates and other activities with their kids. These dads spend time with their families and find importance in entertainment and leisure. In fact, the millennial dad is often seen playing games with his kids at the playground, letting his daughter dress him up in princess gear, and pretending to be a pony.
Because They Stay At Home
According to Pew Research, approximately 2 million dads stay at home with their kids while their partner goes to work outside of the home. While that number only constitutes 7 percent of all fathers, it's still an increase from 1989's 4 percent. Although some stigma around men staying at home with their children still exists, due to some neanderthal mentality, overall dads staying at home is becoming the new norm.
Millennial dads are awesome and should be celebrated. They are kind and caring, they treat women with respect, and they devote all of their free time to their children. They base their happiness on their family and, for the first time in a long time, dads are taking pride in fatherhood. Say what you want about the millennial man, but in my opinion his sensitivity and kindness only makes him stronger and more admirable.