Guest Post: Are Italian Dads finally shedding their “Mama’s Boy” label?

A silent revolution is taking place amongst new Italian fathers. Does this signal the end of the ”mammone” or as you would say in the US “ mama’s boy”? I wanted to give you an Italian dad blogger’s point of view and New York Dad was kind enough to share my post with all of you (editor’s note from NYD: BABBOnline wrote the post directly in English which is not his first language. I have only corrected a few things for flow, but I wanted to leave as much of this untouched as possible. I also wanted to make sure reader appreciated his effort).

Even though Italy is known as “Mom Country”, and the other countries see Italian men as “mama’s boys”, in the last few years there has been a silent revolution involving the role of dad in the parenting equation. There is greater awareness amongst new Italian fathers about the importance of being an important part of the growth process of their children. New dads involved in what are in many places considered standard dad tasks: diapers, cooking, bathing, cleaning etc. These new dads are 30-40 years old with a wife who works full-time. They share the responsibility of supporting the family and child care with their wives. They take a leave to stay at home with kids and they love spending the day with their babies. Fathers have discovered that they can be just as good as moms.

This is a novelty for Italian men. Many men are not so happy about this change because it entails effort. To be a full time dad is harder than being a “just one-hour-a-day” dad. Some fathers are used to minding the children only when they’re back from work late in evening. Many dads, though, have realized that it’s not as difficult as they thought it would be to actually stay at home with their kids. Moreover spending time with their children is the best way to create a relationship with them and establish a strong bond.

It’s clear that dads and moms are different, they have a different approach and style in interaction with children but they are complementary and indispensable for their baby’s growth. And this new approach to fatherhood is not innate, but can be simply learnt.

New dads are still a minority in Italy because there are many social barriers. For example, companies are not used to managing these new dads. It seems that a man should decide between career and fatherhood while I would argue he could get both. The children of this new dad generation will grow up with a new perspective and maybe this will spell the end of the “mammon” era.

Some months after the birth of my daughter, I decided to start up a blog on my fatherhood experience to share my thoughts and my everyday life in order to create a community for dads. I realized that on the Internet, Italian dad bloggers are like a drop in the ocean of mom bloggers. Unlike moms, it seems that dads are not as good at building a team among men. Maybe because the father role is not defined, everyone interprets this role in a different way. It’s unlikely to see dads chatting together when they are at the park with children. Moms do it all the time.

I was told that abroad the situation is completely different. I know there are even some magazines just for dads, in Italy that is inconceivable.

As a blogger of the Italian blog BABBOnline, which means “Dad Online”, I created a logo dedicated to dads: “Dad On Duty” identifying dads who take part in their childrens’ life.

The image I created is that of a father raising his baby to the sky. This is known as “il gesto di Ettore” or “Hector’s gesture” because in Iliad, before the battle, the hero Hector says good-bye to his son with this gesture. According to some research this is a typical male gesture. I would love to see stickers with my logo on bumpers, on the back window of cars or even on a backpack.

I look forward to meeting many more Italian and foreign “dads on duty”.

Sincerely,

BABBOnline (http://babbonline.blogspot.it/)

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