19
Jun
13

This is what I was talking about: Can Men Have It All? (Today Show)

In a moment of universal synchronicity (or dumb luck) The Today Show broached a subject we touched on late Tuesday night and will be a frequent topic of conversation around here for some time to come.

image via The Today Show

image via The Today Show

The segment was called “Can Men Have it All?” and it ran Wednesday morning. You can watch the video of it at Today.com, though I’d like to point out they filed it under “Moms”. I guess that’s the target audience but a section called “Dads” or “Parenting” would have been far more apt, right?

I guess that’s a rant for another day.

It’s an interesting video and I wanted to call a few things out in it.

At 0:46 of the video, we’re introduced to Hugh Kenny, who is “doing more around the home” (how novel). Hugh travels three days a week and talks a bit about the sacrifice he makes to do so, missing day care events and sports.

What struck me wasn’t that, because we all have to sacrifice something to balance everything out, right? I won’t judge his choices.

No, what got me was his need to “provide” for his family – just as his dad did before him.

Even with two people working, to Hugh, it’s his job to provide a living for his family.

It’s exactly the same thing the young man who I was trying to council a week or so ago (talked about a little here) was worried about. How can you spend more time with your kids, AND work a full time job AND help around the house AND AND AND

image captured from the movie Big Trouble in Little China and is NOT a self potrait

image captured from the movie Big Trouble in Little China and is NOT a self portrait

:KABOOM:

Seriously, how does your head not explode?

So we’re still stuck in the same place our dads were – it’s up to us (as men) to be the breadwinners even when our wives and partners earn money as well.

Our identity is still wrapped up in that space. That’s incredible pressure.

Don Draper is wondering why you're sitting reading when you should be working dammit. image via AMC's Mad Men

Don Draper is wondering why you’re sitting reading when you should be working dammit. image via AMC’s Mad Men

I was also interested in the host’s question of whether, given the choice a man would choose a promotion (and I would assume more hours/less family time) or more soccer games (more kid time).

It’s a good question and I was a little surprised to hear the guest say more and more men choose the family time. Not because I don’t agree, but because we aren’t programed to do that.

Another thing: 3 out of 5 men don’t hear praise or appreciation from their spouses for their expanded roles.

I don’t know I buy this, but you guys tell me. All I can say is, sometimes I hear it, sometimes I don’t. I also don’t do it for the props, I do what I do because I want to and because I’ve chosen to.

Finally, while I do agree with the guest that the idea that you can “have it all” is in some ways silly because we can’t have everything we want, when we want it, I don’t agree we can’t “have it all”.

Confused? Me too, but bear with me.

We can have it all – if we are better at having a realistic idea of what “it all” is.

Take a friend of mine for example. As far as I can tell, he “has it all”.

He’s working a dream job – I mean, it’s ridiculous how jealous I get of him, and I have worked and do work some fantastic gigs. But with the awesomeness comes lots of work – it’s a full time job and gets more full time during football season.

My friend also has a great family – a wife, three wonderful daughters (one of which has special needs) – who I know mean the absolute world to him.

I constantly see pictures of him in social media, not just at cool work things, but spending time with his family.

Now, is his life perfect? I can’t say. But he’s happy and as far as I can tell, he’s “got it all”. He keeps working to improve it all, and his goals shift but in the end, he sets his expectations in a sane and reasonable manner (most times) and then shoots for his goals.

Maybe his “got it all” isn’t mine or yours, but it’s a damned good one for him. In my mind, it also proves we can have it all.

We just need to do a better and more reasonable job defining what that is.

Maybe it’s providing money for the family. Maybe it’s providing dinner. Maybe it’s providing the care and feeding of the kids. Maybe it’s a mixture of some of those and a few more things.

But let’s first stop limiting ourselves by defining what we are by what our dad’s were.

Hey, are you following Dad Moon Rising on Twitter or Facebook? Why the hell not?

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Reading: Dead Beat by Jim Butcher Listening to: The Heist, Macklemore Watching: Damages

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