Nurturing Men

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http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-02-14/news/ct-met-caregiver-valentine-20120214_1_male-caregivers-family-caregiver-alliance-alzheimer-s-association

I came across an article in the Chicago Tribune titled “The increasingly male face of caregivers.” This article focused on men’s roles on being a caregiver for a loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. This showed how men became the nurturing ones during their everyday gender roles. Men became the ones who cooked, cleaned, bathed, clothed, and fed their partners because they were incapable of doing it themselves. Society is so used to women being the ones who are the “caregivers” in the home, that this new trend has received a lot of attention in the news. Men who had to take over these roles said that they took on these new roles with no questions asked. Some of their nurturing abilities they actually picked up on earlier in life from the ones that they had to take care of now. Their mothers and wives taught them how to be nurturing by the way that they took care of them, so they felt that it was only right to return the favor to them when they were in need. I think this new trend allows people to see that men can also have a nurturing side and don’t mind taking on roles that they normally would not perform in their activities of daily living. It shows how sometimes in a “traditional” home, the roles between the man and the woman have to be switched due to extreme circumstances. There are even organizations and online resources that have been created for men in guiding them through their new roles as nurturers. It is OK to step outside of one’s comfort zone when it comes to caring for someone you truly love. This new trend shows that it is OK when roles are switched and it should be embraced by society to allow men to be known as a nurturer when he has to take on the responsibility of being one.

 

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6 Responses to Nurturing Men

  1. Mary Casteen says:

    I really enjoyed this post! It reminded me of the story told by the popular movie “The Notebook.” I find it interesting that while our society may label the masculine role as the provider and not the nurturer, the female audience is drawn to men depicted as nurturing and caring (as seen in “The Notebook” where the main male character cares for his ailing elderly wife). I think in many ways our society does admire men in nurturing roles, just not overtly.

    • agreg019 says:

      Yes this totally reminded me of “The Notebook” as well. I absolutely loved that movie and it allowed society to see a male displaying a more nurturing role rather than a provider role. I agree with you that society does admire nurturing men but it has its limit. Society is used to “Men bringing home the bacon, while the woman cooks it.” When the man has to do the bringing home the bacon and the cooking, it allows the nontraditional lifestyle to be embraced more.

  2. This is why I said to Alan, one of our students who recently became a father, that babies are like chick magnets. I was just joking around, but there is some truth to it too. When a mother is out with her infant people rarely notice. And when a nuclear family is out it doesn’t strike anyone as odd. But to be a man and in public, alone, with a little baby will bring you positive attention from strangers.

    • agreg019 says:

      Yes I totally agree. Even my 17 year old brother doesn’t mind carrying around our 8 month old sister at the mall because it instantly becomes a chick magnet. People get so googly eyes when they see a male in a nurturing role because they are used to a dad being the more behind the scene parent.

  3. awalk029 says:

    Your title grabbed my attention as soon as I read it. Before I had my daughter I NEVER nurtured anyone and when I was sick I expected my mom to take care of me through the entire ordeal. And as result, when I got married I expected the same thing. Now that my wife has gotten sick, I feel the roles reversing and now I am taking care of her and our child. It was hard at first, now it is alot easier and I have no idea how I am going to go back to my normal role lol.

    ….. Or shall I say my gender norm role!

    • agreg019 says:

      I think it is very important to be able to take on these reverse roles that your gender wouldn’t do on a normal day to day basis because you never know when you have to “act out of character” to help the ones you love. Having kids and having to be there for them for certain things, especially when mom isn’t available is a great way for dads to incorporate a nurturing side to them. It’s ok if you have got used to being a nurturer! Now your daughter and wife can enjoy “the best of both worlds” with you!

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