The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

June 13, 2013

The new dads: Diaper duty's just the start

— NEW YORK (AP) — Laura Radocaj of Vero Beach, Fla., was warned when she was pregnant with twins that motherhood would be harder than she imagined — especially because she planned to go back to work while the twins were still babies. "But this has been the easiest transition," said Radocaj, 28, who works from home in corporate communications.

So what's her secret?

Her husband, Marco, also 28, puts in just as much time with child care and housework as she does, even though he works full-time for an air-conditioning company. "If your partner is splitting things 50-50, it's easy," said Laura. "Before, when everyone made motherhood seem like such a big deal, men weren't chipping in as much."

Something is changing with today's young fathers. By their own accounts, by their wives' testimony, and according to time-use studies and other statistics, more men are doing more around the house, from packing school lunches and doing laundry to getting up in the middle of the night with a screaming infant.

"If it's not my job, then it's her job, and that wouldn't be fair," said Marco.

But it's not just about sharing chores. For dads in their 20s and 30s, being an involved father is part of their identity. They blog about changing diapers, they chat nonchalantly with colleagues about breastfeeding, and they trade recipes for baby food while working out with guys at the gym.

Creed Anthony, 37, a teacher and father of two in Indianapolis, recalled standing in a hallway at work "talking about breastfeeding with three women. It was natural. They didn't bat an eye." Another conversation with colleagues, male and female, involved "poopy diapers, puke and eating cycles," he said. "And there are a number of guys at school who talk to each other about these things, whether it's 'my son's getting up at two in the morning, he's got this diaper rash, what did you do?' or running a vacuum cleaner to help a colicky baby. It's funny, but it's perfect."

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