This is an article I was featured in recently in Parents Canada Magazine for Father’s Day.
A few decades ago, most talk of fathers’ roles had a straight-up Don Draper-style emphasis on breadwinning. Toronto dad Michael Cusden remembers his dad “just kind of came home from work, had dinner and read the paper and then we went to bed. That’s what dad was to us.” A much more hands-on father, Michael is a digital marketing professional and creator of a blog called Like A Dad. He says the upside with today’s model is, “I know my kids way better. I know what they like. I know their personalities. I know how their day was.” While Michael admits that balancing it all can be stressful, he says, “My dad says he kind of wished he lived in a generation where he got to do it.”
We thought it was time to ask dads what is life like for them today. What are their new struggles, joys and expectations? Here’s what we learned.
Today, leagues of engaged modern dads like Michael are slowly refashioning what fatherhood looks like. For example, 2011 Statistics Canada figures found that 30 percent of eligible fathers filed for parental leave benefits in 2010 – a nine-fold increase over the previous six years. StatsCan also reported in 2011 that the number of stay-at-home dads had tripled over 30 years; and that the number of families headed by single dads is rising.