So many dads were showing up, this Brooklyn "Mommy and Baby" class tweaked its moniker.
Vivian Manning-Schaffel: According to a recent post in the New York Times, so many dads were turning up to a "Mommy and Baby" class at the Prospect Park Y.M.C.A. on Ninth Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn, they changed the class name to "Parent and Baby."
The piece goes on to say that this could be attributed to many things: the economic downturn, a generational attitude shift concerning fathering, and a neighborhood where many residents have jobs with flexible schedules, some of which allow working from home. Or maybe some parents are opting to stagger their schedules to cut back on child care. Either way you slice it, more babies, at least in my neck of the woods, are doing harder hang time with dear ol' Daddy.
Everyone knows "Mommy and Me" class doesn't really mean the kid's mother actually has to represent. Semantics, schmantics, right? I polled a couple of neighborhood dads to gauge their vibes, starting right at home. It's unanimous -- they appreciate the consideration. "It's about time!" says my husband, Brad. "Anything that assumes only mothers are involved in their children's lives is insulting. Titles like that treat fathers as second-class parents."
My friend and neighbor, John, also finds "Parent and Child" a hell of a lot more appetizing than "Mommy and Me." "Mommy and Me always made me feel excluded," he said. "It sounds as if dads are deliberately unwelcome. I think 'Parent and Child' is a big improvement."
Doh! Who'da thunk a dad would appreciate a name that didn't exclude him? Makes perfect sense. And it is about time. The days of pipe & slipper parenting are long gone. Who do you think is dealing with the monkeys as I type this?
Here's hoping more classes follow suit.
|Vivian Manning-Schaffel has written for Babble, Parenting, The Advocate, The New York Post, Business Week and a variety of other publications and lives and works in the heart of breeder Brooklyn with her husband and two kids. She authors two pop culture blogs: The Mad Mom and A Hag Supreme, and is on the web at vivianmanningschaffel.com.|