Stefano Sgambati is a prolific writer and also a father. One of the many fathers who take care of their children with dedication and who share all the joys of parenthood with their partners/spouses.
Here is an excerpt of an article he wrote, published on the website gravidanzaonline, which pretty well sums up the views of a father taking care of his children and dealing with harsh stereotypes that aren’t easy to iron out.
«I spend plenty of time with my daughter. I know men who come home on a Friday evening and are fathers up to Sunday evening. Sometimes, I must confess, the worst part of me gets the upper hand and I say to myself: lucky them, they play dad on FaceTime from their comfy hotel rooms. They are free, emancipated, earn much more than me and, above all, they can feel at ease in the eyes of society.
That’s only normal, and by no means am I the only one who sometimes feels this way. It is our fossilised world that is awkward, androcentric and reactionary; if, on the one hand, the evolution of language goes hand in hand with the advent, in society, of new expressions and with the several roles that were previously held by one of the two genders only, on the other, a father who carries out a number of tasks in the household, other than providing from an economic standpoint, is still defined as a Mr. Mom.
[…And yet…] sometimes a father has to deal with the so-called household chores just as much as the mother (at times, even more) and…wait for it…he actually wants to do it! The annihilation of the term Mr. Mom also requires the social restoration of the father’s role: it is right, it is legitimate to increase the visibility of dreams, of a man’s – hence a father’s – responsibilities. Because if a woman can and must dream of being a good mother, but also a successful manager, a professional worker who puts a gargantuan effort in her job, a man too can and must dream of being a father, if that is his wish.
I like it when, at the restaurant, I take my daughter to the restroom if she needs a nappy change and I smile proudly if I am forced to do it in the ladies’ restroom, considering that you’ll never find a changing table in the men’s restroom.
I like to look up hundreds of recipes that my daughter might like and I don’t consider the roles to be switched if, when I’m out a couple of days to present my book, for example, my wife promptly calls me at dinner time to ask me what product should be used and how to prepare a meal or why her ham and potato omelette is not as firm as mine.
I don’t like to be the object of a story that is ironically admired by my wife’s women friends, i.e. having “such a husband” is a godsend, “lucky you” and so on. No, she’s not lucky: I am just like anyone else, an unbearable husband, often nervous and, given my job, always on the edge of a frustration that cannot be handled.
My right to be a father without necessarily resembling a woman (or suffering a loss of manhood: I’ve actually read articles along those lines) is in the same playing ground of my wife’s inviolable right to be a mother without giving up her economic independence, nor, least of all, her ambitions”.