(2 of 2)
There are, fortunately, better dad role models in sitcoms: shows like Modern Family, Louie and Up All Night involve caregiver dads without treating them as ridiculous or unmanned. And The Week the Women Went, a four-part reality special airing on Lifetime in August, takes a mixed, nuanced look at what happens when the wives and mothers of blue collar Yemassee, S.C., skip town for seven days, leaving the men behind.
As befits a channel aimed at women, The Week shows plenty of hapless dads confounded by meltdowns and laundry. But it also introduces a radical idea: a man might not only be decent at caring for his kids but actually wish he could do more of it. One railroad worker talks about his job, which forces him to spend weeks out of town. "I'm a commuter dad," he says, his voice catching. "My kids are growing up without me."
That's a worry I suspect rings truer for the Baby Bjorn generation than the horror of wiping spit-up: the fear of spending so much time being a provider that you never get to be a dad. Yeah, that baby carrier may be clumsy and ridiculous. But being away from your kids, dirty diapers and all? That weighs much heavier.