Dad as the bumbling, fumbling parent figure was on full display this year, visible everywhere from diaper commercials to the new sitcom Guys with Kids, which hardly captures the gestalt of the modern dad. Guys with Kids pushes the idea that dads aren’t really, truly nurturing when the opposite is true: this generation’s fathers can read Goodnight Moon with the best of them. The stereotype of what Esquire calls “benevolent idiots” or “buffoonish Mr. Moms, people who are biologically incapable of taking care of children” continued in the movie What to Expect When You’re Expecting, a thoroughly unrealistic look at five couples about to bring baby on board. But even the government perpetuates the image of Dad as sidekick. The U.S. Census Bureau persists in considering mothers the “designated parent.” When dads bathe, feed and play with the kids, it’s not considered parenting but classified as “child care.” How’s that for bumbling?
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