Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Calling all Gen X dad's... any of you know men like these...

...I had met Fowler along with a half-dozen other fathers in their 30s and early 40s who gather monthly at a Watertown bar called Conley's. Everything about them seemed to confirm the latest research trumpeting a new breed of father. They experience, as working women have for decades, the joys and anxieties of wanting it all: the satisfying career and the time with their family. These guys dub themselves "Dads in the Dark," though they see their group as far from unenlightened. They grab paternity leaves and reject overtime even when they could use the money. They are as adept at sculpting Play-Doh as they are at drafting memos. A manager at Fidelity Investments says being home by 6 p.m. is not just a target, "it's firm."

One of the regulars, a market strategist in his late 30s, has studied these trends among fathers in his age group. He says the dads "behave, think, and are wired differently." These men met through their wives, who were in a local mothers' group. The guys liked one another so much that they kept meeting (but only after 8 p.m., when the kids were down), talking about everything from the Patriots and the Sox to the job market and office politics and home renovations. Juggling work and home demands is exhausting, they say, but they refuse to replicate the life of a traditional breadwinner - in many cases, the life their own dads led. Many of them, like Fowler, grew up with parents who followed the breadwinner-homemaker model - only to divorce in their 30s and 40s. The men at Conley's aren't looking to put their feet up at the end of the day.

Read the rest of the article and let me know if you think these dad's are the norm or the exception!


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