So I am perusing through flipboard this morning wasting time as my body is arguing with my mind about the change in time and whether or not I could just keep snuggling into my nice warm covers when I spy an article about Amazon and their parent focused program, AmazonMom. Why you ask would this be causing a stir? Because it targets moms. If Amazon had read my research or the research of Professor Doucet in “Do Men Mother?” Amazon would have known better. Amazon would have realized that in this century the world is changing. Athough I would contend that many fathers have gone unrecognized for many years in our society.
In reviewing the research literature for my research on Father’s Experiences Massaging their Babies, I discovered that when attachment theory research focused solely on mothers and neglected fathers completely. Research that began nearly 100 years ago. This reverse sexism has been to our disadvantage. Do men mother? Andrea Doucett agrees the title is provocative as men father and women mother. We each have our own parenting styles and both support positive child outcomes. I propose they always have and the timeliness of this article and the action being taken comes just after I interviewed with TedxTallahassee on this very topic! [TedxTallahassee on April 10th 2015 in Tallahassee’s City Hall 1-4 p.m.]
In the spirit of fathers who are reaching out and demanding action from Amazon on behalf of a father who recently died from cancer and who was an avid daddy blogger. I would like to share some of my story. So here it goes!
I was born to a father who enlisted in the military when he was 17 and married my mother in the same year. I was born when he was 19 and my siblings, twins at 21, another sister at 22 and youngest sister when he was 30. My dad recently died on February 3, 2015. I asked to speak at his funeral. What I shared in the short version was this, My dad taught me to tie my shoes and I learned mastery skills. My dad taught me to ride my bike. His question of was I going to ride my bike or let my bike ride me, taught me that my choices in my life were important and that I had choices. My dad taught me to play baseball. Even though I was the oldest, I was also the smallest of the family members. He taught me how to find the fulcrum holding the bat and where to place my hands, he showed me how to leverage my small frame for the ultimate power connection with the ball and to never take my eye off the ball. I learned that dynamite did indeed come in small packages (me) and that when people underestimate me, it is all about them not me. Dad taught me how to drive. It wasn’t until I taught my own children to drive that I had an awareness of his patience, of his ability to not react. My feeling teaching my oldest to drive was oh my God we are both going to die!
My dad was ready to play with us as children. I remember him bringing in a piece of plywood and putting it on the floor where we created paper-mache mountains and other landscapes. I remember him putting the miniature trees and bushes and other plastic items he bought from the store to create a place for the train to run around the track at Christmas time. It was magical and we girls were afforded the opportunity as much as my brothers to run the train as the conductor!
I remember zip lines before they were a thing. Because Dad would put up zip lines over a river or stream when we were out day camping. We would fly over the water and feel like super heroes. Dad would cook and take care of us when mom had headaches. Dad was a kid in a grown ups body at times.
Dad wasn’t perfect as we came to understand during our teen years and when we left home. It is only in retrospection that we often come to appreciate the things about our parents that were so delicately intertwined like thread in a delicate tapestry of our lives in our primal relationships and through out our childhood. However, I couldn’t help but resonate to the story of a daddy blogger who unwillingly left his children and wife behind due to cancer (reported in the Chicago Tribune Lifestyle) and who wanted fathers to be recognized in our society.
My research has brought more questions to my mind than the answers that came, such as, do we as a society impede fathers from stepping up? Do we discourage them in our socialization, in our policies, in our practices? Do we shun them by denying them rights and supports that are so readily available to women and mothers? This is one area where no one wins. A competition between the sexes only results in denying the children. We must keep our eye on the ball, on the positive outcomes for the children!
Won’t you join these fathers in asking for what ought to be a smart marketing tool? #AmazonFamilyUSA
Sign the Petition here!
Dr. Mary Kay Keller