Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Dads in the Kitchen: A Changing Culture

Have you seen the commercial in which the little boy has just arrived home from school and chats with his father about his tough day? Dad gives him a bowl of pudding and the child, after learning with astonishment that he has to go back the next day, orders a double.  It's a cute ad but the child's cuteness is not what attracted my attention.  I realized, with some surprise, that it was Dad, not Mom, who welcomed the boy home and it was Dad who served up the afternoon snack.  I presume it was also Dad who made the pudding.

This commercial reflects a reality that is becoming commonplace for a variety of reasons.  During the recession in which thousands of upper level middle managers were laid off, it was often Mom's paycheck that kept the family afloat. Moms earn less as a rule (that's a blog topic in itself) so their salaries are not as much of a drain on the bottom line. In addition, women often do not define themselves by their work. They may enjoy their work immensely and be very good at it, but they often think of themselves first as a mother. If the boss doesn't fear you, he may be less apt to fire you. 

Then there is the simple fact that some men are better cooks and housekeepers than their spouses. They may prefer to stay home and their wives may prefer to work.  Another scenario is that what we see is one half of a same-sex marriage.

Whatever the back story, apparently our culture has altered enough that commercials are finally reflecting what has been commonplace for several years: Dad is serving up the pudding. Regardless of what the writers had in mind when they wrote this particular ad, it's nice to see. Dads are just as important to a kid as moms, regardless of the role they play. I love my mom dearly but this ad makes me wish that I had had the benefit of coming home to my dad once in awhile.

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