They aren’t baby-sitters. They’re dads doing what dads do. And in Europe at least it’s not unusual.
Solo-daddying is on the rise in Europe, not because divorce rates are going up, but because many parents simply recognize that children are better off when they have extended time with both parents.
In the European Union, more and more dads are staying home with the kids. It’s partly attributable to the recent financial decline. Many men who’ve lost jobs realize that it makes more sense for them to stay home, especially if their partners’ jobs are secure and profitable. So the upside of the crisis is that many men finally have a legitimate reason to follow their hearts rather than continue doing what has been traditionally expected of them.
Some European countries have implemented laws that provide paid paternity leave and child-care allowance – which gives parents more opportunity to choose what to do and who will do it. And Sweden seems to be leading the way.
Sweden has long been known for its gender equality. Not only does the government support dads in staying home, but also women are encouraged to pursue the professional careers they desire. And couples that separate or divorce are awarded joint custody of their children by default – with children spending alternate weeks with each parent.
Our American perspectives will broaden by moving beyond our restrictive traditions and checking out what other countries are doing that’s working. As my Dutch husband says, “Explore other cultures and see what’s going on. Use some mental floss!”
Bravo to everyone who is finally dropping limiting beliefs and vocabulary about men being less capable than women in caring for children. And to the governments that are creating more options for both men and women. And to the men who’ve already made the commitment, forever changing their own lives and the lives of their children!
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Photo: Getty Images