These days, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting an article by Tom Matlack. So, I’ll save you the cat, here’s another one by Matlack, about bedtime routines for fathers, and why they’re so important.
Matlack’s points are a reminder for men that a little goes a long way with your wives and kids. It’s tough sometimes to come home from a long day at work, and then care about anything, let alone screaming kid. Matlack reminds us that it’s therapeutic for a man to be a part of the bedtime routine, and that everyone in the house benefits from it. The child gets to see his father in a tender way, the father gets to feel “active” in creating and deploying a routine, and the mother gets a little quiet time to herself.
“Good parenting is not a competition,” Matlack says, “and involved dads don’t replace moms”. This is the cornerstone of the “new” father’s movement – that mothers AND fathers both have unique and irreplaceably-important roles. Though at least one recent study suggested that traditional gender roles work best in raising kids – there are both immediate and long-term effects on a child that has an actively-parenting father.
Matlack finishes by reminding us that kids are “intuitive mirrors,” meaning that basically, that if a father relaxes with his kid before bed, the kid will relax. If you fall asleep, the kid will too.
Slightly off-topic: I always love to see Babble articles by male writers because it’s usually a completely pandering article that apologetically “reminds” women that men are a mix of angry, stupid animals and career-focused robots, both incapable of any parenting or emotion.
Matlack does a better-than-average job of painting men in a more positive and fair light – and the difference is in the quality of his writing. Younger fatherhood writers tend to write the pandering pieces because “it’s funny.” Matlack seems to write from a different place. When he says that men “have a hard time getting in touch with their own intuitive ability to parent,” it sounds more genuine than the average big-dumb-animal argument.
He could be a little less of a mangina, but no one’s perfect.