When talking about parenthood there is always an emphasis on motherhood and what it means to be a mom. The standards are changing, and the definition of fatherhood is transforming. For years there have been stereotypes about parents; the mothers stay at home and the fathers provide.
However, those ideas have been evolving for years. Millennials are especially poised to break down those stereotypes. We took a deeper dive with a few millennial dads and explored what it means to be a millennial father, how it differs from other generations, and what advice they have to offer to fellow and future fathers.
I sat down with three of our AppleTree and Gilden Woods Dads to get their take on being a millennial father:
Each generation is defined by their titles, so what does being a millennial mean to you?
B- “Millennials get a bad rap. But it really comes down to how you were raised, not about what generation you may fall in.”
R- “I think that millennials view themselves as a brand, Meaning, that we have beliefs and values to ourselves that are more individual than other generations.”
J- “I feel stereotyped and feel that I possess a stronger work ethic than what is generally associated with my generation.”
How does that relate to or affect your role as a father?
B- “Millennials have made so many technological advances it has helped in how we raise our children and how we prepare them for the rest of their lives.”
R- “It’s something that we encourage to our children. It’s okay to be different, have your own methods and style of going about things in your day to day life.”
J- “I try to instill in my children a work ethic of my grandparents grand parents generation.”
Parenting is a game changer. Is being a Dad what you expected?
B- “I don’t think that you can ever fully prepare yourself to be a parent. It’s a lot of learning as you go.”
R- “In most ways, yes. I knew I was going to do things differently than how I was raised. I didn’t expect the amount of physical and mental energy that it consumes. I also didn’t expect the sensitivity of emotions that comes with being a father.”
J- “No, it is significantly more rewarding.”
It seems that now-a-days parenting duties are shared much more than they used to be. How do you divide the parenting responsibilities, i.e.: drop off/pick up, bedtime, dinner, etc.…?
B- “My wife and I divide things pretty well. We’re both very active in our son’s life and work as a team to do whatever is necessary.”
R- “My wife and I have always looked at our marriage as a team effort, in every task that is required. We communicate very well and understand the requirements of our careers. Some days she has a heavier load, others I do. We work towards making it even out for each other.”
J- “We split everything pretty 50/50 during the hours with which we are together.”
Of what generation is your dad and how does your parenting style differ from your dads?
B- “My dad is a baby boomer. Millennial fathers are more involved in their kids' kids lives than baby boomers. Not that my dad didn’t want to be, or wasn’t when he could be, but he worked three jobs and my mom stayed home. It’s much more common for my generation that both parents provide for the family.”
R- “My dad is from the baby boomers. My dad was completely hands-off for things like feeding, changing, getting me ready for school, cleaning. To him it is a mom’s duty. I know that’s not true and it’s a joint effort to accomplish raising a well-balanced child. Plus, I want to experience the details of every step in my daughter’s life.”
J- “My dad is a baby boomer. I am more open to different perspectives and will engage in conversation with my children about why they believe what they believe while still trying to lead by an example that I hope they will follow.”
What is one piece of advice that you would offer to future fathers?
B- “Expect the unexpected.”
R- “Get involved! I hear many first-time dads say, “Oh I can’t wait until I can play or wrestle with them,” or “I can’t wait till they start talking.” We are going to know our adult children longer than we experience them as a baby. Take it all in and appreciate the early stages, because when it's its over, it's its gone for good!”
J- “The years after the first two are totally pushing through!”
Parenthood is a life-changing experience for both moms and dads. Hats off to parents of all types and a very happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there!