Burnt meals, missed bedtimes, a destroyed house — we've all heard the stereotypes of what things are supposedly like when dads are in charge. Once upon a time, the image of a father was a figure who was so inept at childrearing that he could basically be counted as another kid for mom to take care of. But thankfully, that bumbling image is more confined to sitcoms than reality these days. There are many reasons why dads are better now than ever before, and they benefit the entire family.
Fathers who are more involved with their childrens' lives leave a lasting impact on them. Live Science noted a 2006 study which showed that babies who get lots of playtime with their dads have higher IQ's. And that roughhousing that can drive mom crazy? Dr. Richard Fletcher told ABC News that it's crucial to a child's development, as it can boost their confidence, concentration, and strengthen their bond (it's also pretty good exercise, as long as no furniture gets smashed in the process, and obviously no one gets hurt).
A huge percentage of fathers surveyed by Parenting said they were very confident in their daddy skills — but mothers were a little hesitant to trust them to take care of the kids. Moms who take a step back and let dads work their magic might be very pleasantly surprised with the results.
Here are seven reason why modern dads are awesome.
1. They Spend More Time With Their Kids
Back in the days when dads were expected to be the sole breadwinner while moms stayed home full-time, fathers were sometimes a fleeting presence in their children's lives. That's changed drastically according to statistics from the Pew Research Center cited by Mother.ly — modern dads now devote about three times as much time to their kids as fathers did just a couple of generations ago.
2. They Stay At Home More
More and more dads are giving up their jobs to raise the kids. The National At-Home Dad Network put the figure at about 1.4 million stay-at-home dads in 2009, and said the number has doubled since then. Unfortunately, these dads still deal with the stigma of bucking tradition according to NPR — so if you've got one in your life, be sure to show them some support.
3. They Split Household Duties
Dads aren't just helping with the kids more — they're also helping out more around the house. One study referenced by The Telegraph reported that U.K. dads spend on average about two and a half hours per day taking care of the children or on housework. A 50/50 split might not always be possible, but many households seem to be moving in the right direction.
4. They're Striving For Work/Life Balance
Working moms are usually the ones who are asked about how they manage their work/life balance, and how they seem to "do it all." But dads are also concerned about how they juggle both their family responsibilities and their career priorities, according to the Pew Research Center. About half of dads said it's a problem, and around the same number say they'd stay home with their kids more if it was financially possible.
5. They're Pushing For More Paternity Leave
Taking some time off after birth is kind of a physical necessity for a mom (though sadly, it's not a right). Maternity leave gives a mother time to bond with their newborn, but dads haven't always been offered the equivalent. However, that's slowly beginning to change according to The New York Times, as companies realize that workers want paternity leave and use it as a way to lure the best new hires.
6. They've Got Glam Skills
More modern dads seem to be taking on those tasks that used to be solely seen as a mom's job. That includes making sure their daughters are always having a good hair day, like the dad profiled by HuffPost who went to cosmetology school so he could learn how to tie up the perfect pony tail. As you can see on his Instagram page, @thehairdad has progressed into way more complicated styles.
7. They're Supporting Each Other
I know so many moms who rely on their playgroups, their fave blogs, or even online message boards to help keep them sane, and it seems dads are following suit. The New York Times noted that online dad groups and blogs have gotten much more popular recently as fathers look to connect with their peers.
After a very frustrating first birth experience, this Deaf mother wanted a change. Will the help of two Deaf doulas give the quality communication and birth experience this mom wants and deserves? Watch Episode Four of Romper's Doula Diaries, Season Two, below, and visit Bustle Digital Group's YouTube page for more episodes.