The most dramatic shift in American living conditions in the past decade was a 62 percent rise in households headed by single fathers. They now number 2.2 million, or 2.1 percent of all households. That compares to 7.2 percent for single mothers.
Child-rearing is tough enough without a partner, but for many single dads, the demand to be as nurturing as a traditional mother can be quite a challenge. And asking for help when parenting gets tough (like asking for directions when they're lost) may not be so easy either.
But as more women choose career over family and more divorce judges award custody to fathers, men are discovering they can avoid stereotypes about behavior-by-genes and be just as good at parenting as many women.
Qualities of love, patience, and compassion that are essential to raising children aren't gender bound.
Nor do men need to be stuck in the notion that their identity lies in just having a successful career. Success can be defined in many ways, not only in being a good father, but for at least 2.2 million men, in being both a good father and mother.
Still ... we hope these new single dads do find time to date.
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor