One of the biggest challenges that dads face in these days of shifting roles is that of maintaining a healthy masculine/feminine balance within themselves. Both men and women have the ability to be masculine or feminine in their approach to life and the situations that life presents.
It is this ability that makes it possible for women to defend their children and for men to be brave and courageous and still be able to express tenderness. For centuries, the roles that were set for both sexes dictated what they could do and could not do. The roles for men were totally masculine, while roles for women were totally feminine. The side-effects of these older roles were that many men had difficulty accessing their softer emotions. They were limited in their ability to express tenderness and compassion, because it was considered unmanly.
As women have entered the work place they have been forced to adopt a more masculine approach to life (if they don’t, they get run over). Men, on the other hand, have been getting in touch with their softer side more.
It is important that both men and women be able to access their masculinity and femininity. A problem develops when either sex loses their ability to move back and forth between their masculine and feminine sides. When this happens, they are unable to live life to its fullest.
For men, extreme cases of the two different scenarios are they become exclusively masculine to the point that they lose touch with their ability to be loving, tender and compassionate. On the flip side of the coin, a man can become so in touch with his feminine side that he loses touch with his masculinity. When this happens men find that their self-confidence fades away, and as this happens, they begin looking to others for leadership to fill the void their lack of self-confidence has created.
If a man is either having challenges accessing his softer emotions or he has lost his self-confidence and feels as though he needs to look to others for leadership, their challenges have the same root, but are directed in opposite directions. Neither one of these are desirable, and if anyone finds themselves in either of these situations, be encouraged, there is a logical explanation and it is possible to make real and lasting changes if you want to do so.
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About Jim Wysong
Jim Wysong is a businessman, contractor and real estate investor who spent more than 30 years observing and studying psychology and human behavior through workshops, seminars and textbooks. His efforts to better understand his own emotional discomfort led to theories that have universal applications in modern society. He is the author of The Neutering of the American Male.
As a new dad, but older than most, I have thoroughly enjoyed the arrival of my son. And happily change diapers, bottle-feed him, wake up in the middle of the night to console him, do the laundry and make dinners. But I also have a day job. And I think that the day job keeps me in the head space of a traditional dad. If I were a stay-at-home dad, I may feel differently about my role. I often tell my wife I'm willing to stay at home while she works but she hasn't taken me up on the offer. And I'm not sure that my psyche wouldn't be turned on its head. It's funny how society really does get in our heads. And even though we say we're free to be who we want, it's not exactly true. We're only free as long as we're not different. To be different is to carry a weight on our shoulders that we may not always be willing to carry.Â
Â SteveKolanderÂ So true, Steve. I did stay home with our second. Most of the time it was all cheers and happiness, especially when I'd fly the babies solo across country.Â Every once in a while, though, it was hardÂ for people to get out of what they expect roles should be,and that even includes family members who should know better.Â As a wise person once said to me though, "you have to live your life, not someone else's version of what it should be."
I've never regretted staying at home with my kids and fashioning a life that puts them at top of list of things to do (most days).