May 26, 2012

Parents v. Partners

For the last week, my mind has been drawn back to this recent Wall Street Journal article on the modern American husband. The headline: "Are Dads the New Moms?"

The article discusses men who prioritize their duties as fathers, share houshold chores as equals with moms, and are juggling the same work/life balance that women have been dealing with since the feminist movement. This portion in particular struck me:

"Even as men have made great strides as fathers, however, they can find themselves rudderless as spouses. 'We're getting a new cultural script for a 'new dad' but not for a "new husband," ' says W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the University of Virginia's National Marriage Project. 'That married people with childre...n now often refer to themselves as a 'stay-at-home mom' or 'stay-at-home dad' instead of as 'wife' or 'husband' signals that we now prioritize parenthood over marriage itself.'
"As men try to be better dads, they are running into the familiar difficulty of balancing kids, career and marriage—a problem that women have been trying to manage since the 1970s. With men as with women, it is marriage itself that often gets short shrift."

I shared this with friends on Facebook. One responded that her husband's grandma would consistently remind them, "Remember you were lovers before parents!"

My question: have we become more parent-centric than partner-centric? What do you think?

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