The Huge Upsides of Domestically Committed Fatherhood with Expert Tim J. Myers

IAOL 13 | Fatherhood

Looking for ways to create equality and balance at home? It’s exhausting when household responsibilities aren’t divvied up fairly. Even in today’s world, women often handle more household and childrearing duties than their partners—even when they’re also working full time. Research consistently shows that a balance in family duties—and in a relationship as a whole—fosters a healthy partnership and a happier household. Creating balance and gender equality in the home environment is possible, but it takes TLC and effort! Dr. Carla is joined by fatherhood expert Tim J. Myers for a powerful look at how fathers can create balance, fairness, and a happier home environment. Regardless of gender, parents and caretakers who strive to create equity at home tend to cultivate lasting love and connection.

Books by Dr. Carla Manly: 

Date Smart: Transform Your Relationships and Love Fearlessly 

Joy From Fear: Create the Life of Your Dreams by Making Fear Your Friend  

Aging Joyfully: A Woman’s Guide to Optimal Health, Relationships, and Fulfillment for Her 50s and Beyond 

The Joy of Imperfect Love: The Art of Creating Healthy, Securely Attached Relationships 

 

Connect with Dr. Carla Manly: 

Website: https://www.drcarlamanly.com 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drcarlamanly/ 

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/drcarlamanly/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drcarlamanly 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carla-marie-manly-8682362b/ 

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@dr.carlamariemanly8543 

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@dr_carla_manly 

 

 

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The Huge Upsides of Domestically Committed Fatherhood with Expert Tim J. Myers

Discover How EVERYONE Benefits When Partners Step Up to Share Family Responsibilities!

Even nowadays, women often handle more of the household and child-rearing duties than their partners, even when the women are also working full-time. Research consistently shows that a balance in family duties and balance in a relationship as a whole fosters a healthy partnership and a happier household. Creating balance is possible, but it takes lots of TLC and effort. In this episode, we’ll focus on this real-life question. “My husband is a good provider but not so great in many other ways. I work full-time, manage the house, and care for our two kids. I’m burnt out and angry. How can I get him to step up?” That question is the focus of this episode.

I’m joined by a very special guest. Tim J. Myers, Senior Lecturer at Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley. Tim is an amazing man who focuses on the power of domestically committed fathers. This is a fascinating, fabulous, and much-needed topic. Welcome to the show, Tim. I am so excited to share time with you.

Thank you so much for having me. We had such a wonderful interview previously. I was looking forward to this. I am so behind what you are doing and I especially like that you’re emphasizing that this part of family life and gender roles in America right now around the world is crucial. I don’t know if it gets as much press as it should. Anyway, you’re doing that and I think that’s wonderful.

Thank you, and I think the power of shows and conversations like this is we get to bring people forward who believe in a topic that we can all learn from and grow from because life is imperfect. We’re imperfect. Moms are imperfect. Dads are imperfect. The more support we can give, the more positive messaging we can give in a world that’s filled with what’s going wrong. Let’s talk about what we can make go right. Before we launch into that, if you’d share a little bit about what makes you, you?

I suppose part of that could be my background. I’m the oldest of eleven children in a super Catholic family. I grew up in Colorado Springs. I also happen to have met an amazing woman who has been my wife. We have been married for many years. She has influenced me and vice versa, she’ll admit under duress, more than I couldn’t even begin to quantify, much less be grateful enough for what she has taught me. I’m very much a Western American. I’m a teacher, but I’m also very much an artist. That’s at the heart of who I am.

IAOL 13 | Fatherhood

I know you and I was having a little bit of a conversation and a few of your guiding parts in life are love, family, art, story, and spirituality. What a strong, powerful message, and words to live by. Love, family, art, stories, and spirituality. I can talk to you for hours about each one of those. Let’s go into the topic of the episode. Domestically committed fathers and the power in a world where I think it’s in some ways becoming men versus women.

One gender against another. I’m a real believer. I love women. I love men. I love people, no matter what gender somebody is. When we communicate and pitch in to create healthy families, we are making, as you say, the world a better place. I’m pulling words from something you had written to me. When we go back to this audience’s question, I have to say it’s not a question I’m unfamiliar with. Many women and sometimes men talk to me or send me an email saying, “This is my situation. I am bearing the burden of everything except maybe one piece here or there.” How can we get a partner to step up?

IAOL 13 | Fatherhood

That is a vital question. In my book at some point, I have an Ashanti proverb that says something along the lines of, “The ruin of a nation begins in the homes of the people.” That’s a negative way of saying it. The positive way is, “The fruition or health of a nation also begins in the homes of the people.” It begins in families. What we have to do before we do anything else is look at how we got where we are. This isn’t true all over the world. There are many forces in the world that are reactionary and want to go backward, but we’re living in a time when there’s been tremendous social and other progress. Sometimes that’s lost in the glare of all the technological progress in the rest of the digital revolution.

I was born in 1953. I grew up in a thoroughly traditional sexist family. Ag big family, as I said. My mom was the home person. My dad was a world person. The woman who wrote or emailed the letter to you said, “My husband is a good provider.” My father was an amazing provider with almost no domestic commitment whatsoever. Of course, my mom and dad were acting according to the templates of their time. Along comes the ’60s, and suddenly, the rug gets pulled out from under them. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more understanding of what they went through.

I’m mentioning it too because I love what you said about loving all genders and all variations on gender because this is a problem we’re all in. It can be seen as men versus women and sometimes it is. That still is tremendous sexism. The solution is for all of us to get together in our values in the way society is structured.

My point is when women started going to work in huge numbers in the ’70s in the United States, we suddenly created a new society in that we had no apparatus for. Society is still set up in 2023 to largely be set up to have a woman full-time in the home with the kids and the man out there in the work world. This is nobody’s fault. This is just the way it evolved.

By the way, that doesn’t reflect our reality at all, but you can see this in the smallest things. There are plenty of people, and I was one of them, who don’t have two working parents. For a time, my wife and I were big on somebody always being home. That’s a choice. Not everybody has to do that, but I stayed home with my sons for over a year and stayed home with my daughter from the day she was born until kindergarten.

Never underestimate the power of fatherhood. Now more than ever, we need great dads who lead by example. Join Dr. Carla and expert Tim J. Myers for a deep dive into the vast power of kindness, love, and fatherhood. The world needs GREAT dads now more… Share on X

There are people who have won, either the woman or the man or whoever, because we’re talking about other kinds of families, too. One of the spouses is staying home doing the domestic thing and the other one’s out in the world, so I’m not ignoring those people. Everybody gets to choose that. What we have with a lot of families is we have two working parents. One little thing that comes up and that shows us how we are not set up for this.

What happens when your kid gets sick? When your kid gets sick, it throws families. “We got to cover what to do with this. Who’s going to do this? I got to take off work.” You can see that was not a problem before because you had one domestically committed spouse and that was his or her, usually her, profit. This is how we got to where we are now. We are still trying to work out.

You’ll see all kinds of things like family leave and parental leave, also including fathers. Daycare is a big part of this. We’re trying to catch up in the way society is structured to the actual majority reality of two working parents. This is still a work in progress, causing that kind of strain. My heart goes out to the woman who contacted you because that is an unbelievable burden. I can’t imagine the churning in her heart day by day as she tries to deal with that.

That’s why I thought it was a perfect question to bring forward because you can feel the pain of the partners who are working full-time or one is working from home, whatever it is, and the child is sick. Especially if they’re both working outside the home and then they have to send the kid to school sick, so the little kid goes to school sick.

They feel bad about that but don’t have a choice because they don’t have daycare. They can barely make ends meet or they have a big day in court if they’re an attorney. Whatever’s happening. It often leaves the partner who’s shouldering that big responsibility building up all of this resentment and also often feeling like a nag.

It’s like, “Partner, will you help me? Please help me.” The other partner probably grew up with the same template in their upbringing, which this person does the bread-winning and brings home the bacon. The other person, just because you happen to be a certain gender, then it all falls to you to cook, clean, pick up the dry cleaning, and take the kids to soccer. You can see this imbalance. No wonder relationships ultimately dissolve in many cases.

It’s not that there’s a problem with marriage because people always say, “The problem is because you’re married.” No, the problem is not because you’re married. That just happens to be the statistic we have. We don’t have a statistic for partnerships that aren’t registered. It’s about any relationship where there isn’t a balance financially, emotionally, mentally, physically, the child-rearing, and all of these. Thank you for setting the backdrop for us.

How can we help break out of these traditional templates or models that are so hardwired into the psyche? The other thing is many women pick up the slack. I know that I’m certainly one of those. I’ll willingly let someone not pick up their part as much as I ought to and go back into what my mom modeled for me, which was being that nurturer and caregiver. Not that that’s bad. It feels good to me to be nurturing and caring, but imbalance can come at a cost.

You’re referring to this too, I’m not saying something new here, but we’re talking not only about that pain that the spouse is feeling but also about injustice. We’re talking about a feeling that this isn’t fair, which by the way, is a very traditional idea. Sharing the work is not an untraditional idea. It’s just that we’ve shared it in certain ways.

To throw in one more big-picture thing, I’m trying to get to that answer about how we deal with this in a practical sense. This is a beautiful example of how the personal can be political. I don’t mean to overstate that. I think some people take that way too far. What happens in individual families right now because of these giant societal change is a big political reflection.

You referenced very wisely that there’s a lot of generalized anger. It can be women versus men. It can be wives versus husbands. If we look at questions of financial security, the further down you go, the worse it gets for people who are living in poverty or close to poverty. These pressures become overwhelming. Part of this thing is we’ve got a lot of bad feelings going on for very understandable reasons. How do we start? The heart of this has to be this whole thing. I like the fact that you used it. You know how deeply this is ingrained in our psyche. How much this has to do with gender roles and how do we learn those?

Of course, a lot of what we learn about gender roles, we learn more from modeling than from being taught. They are often taught, but we see what our parents or guardians were like, and we tend to identify with our same-sex parent and we think it runs pretty deep. As you said, you slip back into that thing where you’re reflecting on your mom. That is not bad. I’ve been a caregiver. Nurturing and giving is one of the most beautiful things in the world. I sometimes see there’s even a conflict between working mothers and stay-at-home mothers.

We learn more from modeling than from being taught. Share on X

When my daughter was little, I was in a group where our kids would meet to play. I saw that conflict among some of those women. I was like, “No, you can’t be against each other. Everybody gets to choose.” Part of this thing with gender is this choice. When I say feminism here, I don’t mean necessarily radical feminism, although there are things radical feminism had to teach us that are very important. I mean day-by-day garden variety, “Let’s do what’s fair in this marriage.”

It’s so common sense, but please let me hear you say it again.

Let’s just do what’s fair. I love that you would emphasize that point. I often say that I’m very much a liberal and progressive kind of person. I’m not against other points of view necessarily. Some of them, I’m very much against. One of my big points is the world that we’re trying to create with all these progressive changes is based on common decency. If there’s a person who’s a different type of person from you, you should respond to them with common courtesy, decency, and respect. We’re applying that here too.

IAOL 13 | Fatherhood

If both parents are working, this can differ and spouses have to work this out together and this happens regularly. It can be that you have one person in a high-power job that brings in a lot of money and another in a low-pressure job that brings in less money. I’m perfectly open to negotiation in that either way. “I’ll do more domestic work because your job has these aspects to it.” That still has to be 100% agreed and negotiated between the two partners.

What we’re tending to see and like you said, we still have these statistics showing that when two parents are working, men still tend to do less work at home. It’s bad enough that that happens with housework. It is unacceptable when it happens with parenting. I don’t want to push this point about the two parents of opposite genders thing too much because some people use that as a mallet to hit others over the head with. We know that if children have more committed guardians or parents, those kids do better in life.

Here’s a big one, partly the answer to what you were asking before. My point and the point of my book Glad To Be Dad is we need to sell men on the benefits of this. A lot of men don’t understand the benefits. They’re living at a distance from the benefits of being a domestically a committed father. The benefit to the man I’m talking about to me. My kids are going to get amazing things out of it. My wife is going to get amazing things out of it. I’m also getting amazing things out of it. That’s one of the reasons my book was full of a lot of stories.

The funny things that happened, the moving precious moments that you have as a parent, how it helps take you out of this old Herb Goldberg book which is another gender role. The male in harness spends his entire life pulling the plow. How to step out of that sometimes and be able to be your fuller self. You mentioned love, family, and spirituality.

That’s being human. That shouldn’t be a professional orientation for somebody like me. These are the things that are around us that are in the air and ourselves. I think a lot of men are longing for more of that, but they don’t necessarily know how to do it. We all get caught up in money and the daily routine. A lot of it is money and the daily routine.

A lot of men are longing for more, but they don't necessarily know how to do it. Share on X

As you said, it’s easier to pick up after somebody sometimes because you run the risk of being called a nag, but it’s also more work in your day. “He threw his clothes on the floor. He could’ve done this with it. I’m going to let it go. Why? Because I’m busy. I’ve got to shop. I got to go to work. I got this. I got that.” Money and daily routine slow us down.

Our society has become so materialistic and money-oriented. Not that it’s not important to have money, we need money so that we can survive. I do think our values sometimes get a bit out of whack. I have tons of questions for you, but I love how you pointed out the piece about agreements and how we need to negotiate agreements. The reason my ears perked up at that, I was going to ask you about it anyway and here you gave it to me.

In my next book that’s coming out in 2024 called The Joy of Imperfect Love, I talk about commitments and how commitments are made either explicitly or implicitly in every relationship. We make commitments. We make agreements. Even when we’re dating, we decide who’s paying for dinner. Is it shared? We’re deciding once we move in together, who’s doing the dishes? We’re creating and these are often implicit agreements.

What I propose and bring forward strongly because it’s who I am. I was getting people to sign agreements with me back when I was seven years old and realized I couldn’t trust my dad to follow through. If he’d make me a promise, I learned pretty early on, “I need to have him sign this.” Not that we need our partners to sign agreements. If we can create trust, then they don’t need to be.

You and I haven’t talked about this before, so I love that you brought it up. I think it is such a powerful way not only to create harmony and balance in a relationship but what if we look at the agreements as signs that the agreement is needed because something is awry? For example, for the person who’s working full-time, picking up the kids from school, or whatever activities, tending to all the appointments. The other person is merely going to work, coming home, and then retreating and doing what they’re doing.

If you’re creating an agreement and you see in black and white, “This is the disparity. This is the imbalance.” Going back to your point, “Just be fair.” When we see, “Honey, all I’m asking you to do is pick up doing the shopping or making five meals a week. Also, overseeing the cleaning or the homework.” As you negotiate that agreement, you can see, “That was lopsided. Do I want to be a person who is that unfair to my partner? Do I feel good about myself if I sit back and let my partner, the person I say I love? You can tell I get passionate about this topic. What do you think about that?

You’re right to be passionate about that topic. There’s a huge injustice. Sometimes that injustice is unconscious. Sometimes it’s half-conscious. There are some guys in the world who are using women. There are women who use men too. It’s not like that never happens. I think your point about how implicit this is, is also a critical one.

I’ll give you an example of how bad it can get. When my book first came out and some people read it, I got a lot of strokes. I was like, “You’re this wonderful husband.” My wife said one time and I could not have agreed with her more, “Why are you getting praise for doing your half of the job and all the women who are doing the job and have been doing it all along aren’t getting praise?” Suddenly, it’s like, “This man who’s liberated, what a wonderful guy.” I couldn’t agree with my wife more. I was like, “What? I do my half of the work and suddenly, I’m a hero. No, doesn’t make sense.”

Your wife is a wise woman. Kudos to you for doing and being such a great role model, but I do like her point. That was a smart woman.

This is fair. That’s where a lot of this tension builds up. There are a lot of other things in the culture, by the way. I don’t mean to keep going back to this larger picture, but a lot of things in the culture that isn’t even necessarily completely related to marriage and other domestic relationships or romantic relationships are also causing a lot of tension among genders and different forms of sexual orientation. People in different groups and all that. I think this is good at its heart because we are changing. I think this is one of those things where women are saying and should say, “This isn’t right. This isn’t working.”

I love what you said about, “The person I love, am I treating that person right?” It can happen on a day-to-day basis in simple habits that you may never question. Your point about it being implicit. The other side of this is this whole application of feminism. We need another word for that. Although I love the word feminism, don’t get me wrong. I keep trying to come up with something like anti-rigid genderism or anti-genderism. Many men are very much trapped in gender narrow and fruitless gender roles.

Many men are trapped in gender roles that are too narrow and fruitless. Share on X

I have an idea. How about fairism? Using your word. Gender-neutral term. If we are going back to your principle of, “Let’s just be fair,” fair-ism. That is about if we create equality without pulling down one gender or another, there’s no reason to pull people down. Anyway, I had to say that. I think you came up with fairism. Let’s go with that for now.

I’ll give you an example of how much I had to learn about this too. When you see a big systemic injustice, the first thing you see is one group exploiting another. There’s no question that for centuries, in various ways in different cultures and all that, males have been exploiting females. That starts to change, but then you also start to see that the oppressor is often caught up in this cycle like the oppressed is caught up in the cycle. The oppressor is also being hurt by the cycle.

Men dominating and exploiting women, and men got all kinds of things out of that. Men got the ability to live the life they want and do more of what they want out there in the world while woman picks up the slack. If you think of somebody like Gogan, the amazing French painter who ran off to the South Pacific, had affairs with women, and got a sexually transmitted disease while his wife was at home taking care of the kids, doing all his work as an artist. Men got something out of that, but they also lost so much. This is my point about how we have to understand how men are socialized and how men take on these roles and don’t see the benefit to themselves and doing this fair.

You say so many things that my heart gets such joy from and I want to lean into it. The piece that I don’t want our audience to miss because it’s like giving my heart great joy to hear you say it. In your book, Glad To Be Dad, even though a male or whoever is the power figure in the relationship, whoever gets more of the benefit, I think we forget that when someone is misusing, abusing, or exploiting another person, they’re losing, even though they may seem like they’re the winner. This is the piece you’re talking about that we want to pause at.

They may be winning in some way, but I want to focus on how that person loses. It’s because they’re losing their dignity, respect and ability to create balance, compromise, be a team player, be a good role model. We’ll all die someday. The will go to their grave knowing, “I was a good human being. I was a fair human being. I was a just human being. I used my life to learn, to grow, and to become better. I’m imperfect, but I spent my life becoming more  of an evolved human being.” That, to me, is a piece you’re hitting on that I don’t want to lose. Back to the question that was sent in. When anyone steps up to the plate, they are becoming a better human being, thus a better role model, and thus creating a better world.

Making themselves happier, which is something they may not see. I’m thinking about the woman who contacted you and I’m thinking about practical things to say to her as I’m hoping we’re getting closer to those things. It’s sometimes hard to come up with the specifics that you do, but conceptualizing the whole thing, what you just said is perfect. This is a much broader context. In fact, in my opinion, when we talk about it in those terms, we’re talking about the spiritual.

However, people define the spiritual, the way you live your life in terms of trying to make yourself better, a better world, to give, to create more fruitfulness. That, to me, is a question of value so deep that they become at least philosophical, but in my opinion, certainly spiritual. You think about that. I’ll give you one example too. All this stuff is tied up together.

A huge part of this is the way our views of parenting have also changed. I was a kid at the time my parents worked their tails off for us and I have nothing but gratitude and thanks to them, but they were old-time parents. They didn’t talk to kids. Especially if you’ve got eleven kids, what are you going to do? They didn’t talk to kids. They provided for them. My parents did all kinds of things to provide for us.

I can remember my dad saying once, “You know what they say it all is now? It’s psychology.” He said it was like a dirty word because this was this big change. A wonderful colleague of mine once said, we’d talked about this a lot, “I realize from watching you and your wife that I’ve made one assumption that is false. My idea was that my wife would raise them and I would be working.” He was a wonderful loving father, don’t get me wrong. “I would start to have a strong relationship with them when they grew up. I thought what I would do is back-load my parenting. What I realized from watching you and your wife is I need to front-load.”

This is this whole thing with attachment theory and all of these things that modern psychology has shown us. We know that babies in the womb can’t understand language. They start picking up the language. We know that these early childhood literacy and language experiences are incredibly important. What that child is going to be throughout life, not only in terms of their literacy skills but in terms of their reasoning skills, how they’re going to do in school.

Part of the thing was that a lot of men are missing out because that old model puts the man outside of the home when they’re young or he’s not with them as much, they’re missing this incredible relationship with a human being that they can have from the beginning that they can affect. We’re teachers. My wife’s a reading specialist. We’ll say, “You can raise your kid so that your kid will have, in virtually, every situation, academic success if you know how to bring language play.”

The learning, not in the sense of the way teachers learn, “Sit down and learn this,” but the way kids learn through playing, singing, talking through games, and all the rest, you can virtually assure academic success for them, not to mention a profoundly deepened rich relationship with those kids. There’s a song about it, Harry Chapin, Cats in the Cradle. I think many men have that moment where it’s later in life and they’re like, “Why don’t I have a better relationship with my son or daughter?” If you want to be a farmer, get out in the fields when the crops are planted.

Thank you for reminding us of that song. Audience, if you don’t know that song, the father has no time for the child when the child is small. As the father ages and he wants to have a relationship with the son, the son says, “Dad, I’m a little bit too busy. I can’t do it for you. At almost an exact parroting or maybe the exact parroting, but that Harry Chapin, Cats in the Cradle.

I want to pause here and dive back into the audience’s question because I can feel, “Give us some tips, give us some tools.” I think we’ve already laid some out. You’ve done a brilliant job with it. Here’s what I’m taking from what you’re saying. If there’s an imbalance in your relationship, first off, sit down and maybe write out where the imbalance is so you can see it, feel it, or get it down on paper. Whether it’s paper or on the computer, get it down. Get it out of your psyche. Get it down on paper so you can see the imbalance.

Create a negotiation with your partner and say, “Here’s the lopsidedness. Let’s negotiate about creating more balance here. Create an agreement, then you’re also asking, I love how you said, “Look at your views. Look at your values.” Maybe it’s also a couple of big conversations about what our values are here.

We all have values. Some people value money first on their list. Some people value success. Some people value family, love, and relationship. Let’s get our values down as partners and look at our values. I write about this in my work and my books. It’s okay to have some slight mismatch in values. If one person values money and success as number one and the other person values family as number one, but the first person who values money and success has family down at a six, that’s not going to work out very well.

We need to see, and ideally, we do this before we have kids and are in a relationship. If we haven’t done that, it’s never too late. Remember, we’re all imperfect. Maybe it’s about, “Let’s look and talk as partners about our values, our views, and getting them into alignment if possible.” Sometimes they might need some psychotherapy, which I’m a big fan of, or bibliotherapy pulling in some good self-help books.

The other thing that I think you’re talking about that I’m hearing you say is being curious in all of these conversations in your interactions. Be curious about your partner’s background, like, “This an unconscious template that you have. You’re following in your dad’s or your mom’s footsteps. Can we make things a little more conscious and talk about them?”

Of course, those discussions can be a little anxiety-inducing for people who aren’t used to having them. Learn to have those conversations about that tough material in a calm, very careful, and very thoughtful way. It sounds like you and your wife do that naturally. Do those all sound like tips you could stand behind for this audience?

They do. I want to add one short thing and one longer thing. I would be false and inaccurate if I gave the impression that my wife and I always have these conversations amid sweetness, light, and a complete lack of disagreement. We have had our arguments and our fights like anybody else. That’s why I love your emphasis on Imperfect Love. It is true that we have said from the beginning of our relationship that talking to each other was the heart of everything we are.

What I want to do is say, “I love those steps.” I want to go back and I think there might be a ste. If I was doing it, I would insert another step before that. It is one of the miracles of the world that all these things we’re talking about, which are practical issues of family, home, job, and work-life balance, which inform the entire economy, not to mention the political unit of the United States. All these things come down to what is usually, not always, a romantic sexual relationship between two people.

People get married for different reasons. I’m not saying that one size fits all. It’s not for me to tell everybody in the world what marriage should be. Marriage has been very many different things throughout history. Some people get married for security and comfort. Some people get married for political reasons. Our tendency in the West is to believe now, and this is being questioned, that sexual romantic love is the heart of that relationship.

I don’t know that woman who contacted you. I don’t know what the details are there, so I’m speaking very generally. The first thing I would do is look at my relationship with my spouse in terms of that part of it. How close and emotionally warm are we with each other right now? That is something that can so easily get lost. It takes a beating every day if you’ve got two working people with kids. Mom and Dad and their romance get pushed to the back burner.

That is something that has to be worked at, maintained, and considered. All those anxieties and those can be challenging conversations. As you said, if that part’s not working, those things are going to be much harder to do. After that, in other words, one of the things I would do is I’d say, “Let’s get a babysitter. What movie do you feel watching? Let’s do this.” I would try to reestablish that which may well be the case, it has been broken or it’s been weakened in some way.

If you've got two working people with kids, mom and dad’s romance takes a beating every day and gets pushed to the back burner. That is something that has to be worked at, maintained, and considered. Share on X

Secondly, the conversations I would start, and this is why I started with this big-picture stuff, is this isn’t necessarily our fault. We’re here in a world that we were given. We’re under these pressures. To be a double-working couple with kids at an age where that’s difficult. One of the things I want to do is establish with my partner, “We’re on the same team. We’re working together. I care about you. I love you to distraction.” I want to establish that before we start having the conversations. That doesn’t mean that those conversations don’t have to happen. This is unfair to so many women.

I love the point you made earlier. It is unfair for a woman to be considered a nag because she’s asking for fairness in her marital relationship. She’s going to have to talk to him about that, but if she starts talking about, “This is the world we inherited,” that’s where you bring in, as you wisely said, “What’s your family? What did you get from your family?”

It is unfair for a woman to be considered a nag because she's asking for fairness in her marital relationship. Share on X

There’s this Jewish proverb about love. When two people get married, six people jump into bed together. When people first hear that, sometimes they go, “What are you talking about? Is this an orgy?” I’m like, “No. That’s not the point. We’re talking about your marriage being utterly saturated with your parents and his or her parents. They’re going to be there at your elbow invisibly every second.”

Those conversations start about who we are as a couple, let’s celebrate ourselves, and then wow, what kind of world do we inherit or we’re trying to deal with and what do we get from our immediate families? That seems to me like it might lead very naturally into those wonderful specific conversations you’re talking about, such as, “What are our values? What do we value?”

This is exactly what you said. I love the way you said this and you started by talking about these things are implicit. You said, “Make this conscious.” Every anti-oppression movement has a stage that we call consciousness-raising. You have to help people understand. Guess what? We’re doing something here that’s not fair. Me Too Movement. Guess why this stuff is still going on. It’s not fair.

I could keep us going for another 45 minutes times 8. I so appreciate all of the tips. I feel like we’ve given this question, this topic, at least a foundation. There’s so much more to explore, including all of the roots of where these mindsets came from that are so entrenched in us and our society. Things have changed. Many of our core beliefs have not changed. We’re getting used to this. I’m also a believer in your attitude of, “There’s no blame here. There’s no shame here. Let’s not start from that place in our relationships. It’s not about blame or shame. It’s about understanding.

The last piece I want to say, I love that you brought up the teamwork thing because, especially in my next book, The Joy of Imperfect Love, I coined this phrase and audiences are going to hear it over and over again. “LAST.” If you want your relationship to LAST, both partners need to listen, attune, which comes from that attuned parenting attachment. We want to listen. We want to attune and dive into connecting with someone. We want to see the other partner. Not project onto them. We want to see them and know them. The T is teamwork. We have to Listen, Attune, See, and Teamwork. If we can start bringing those forward in relationships in our imperfect ways, we can solve some of these imbalances.

I love LAST. That’s perfect. By the way, what you have done there is describe love that is not merely passive. It’s a love that is active. It’s a love that glows in a relationship and causes two people to turn toward each other. Like you said, to keep going deep. Everybody wants that. If there’s somebody in this world who doesn’t want that in a relationship, I don’t know who they are. As you said, you have to do these things, you have to work at it. You have to value it so much that you put your labor and time into it.

You are such a joy. You have so much wisdom to share. I am so grateful. Your book, as we wind up, tells the audience where they can find you and where they can find your book, Glad To Be Dad. Tell us how people can access more of this richness that you’re giving to us.

First of all, thank you so much for your kind words. I reflect them right back on you. Glad to Be Dad is all over the usual places. Books on Amazon. It’s all over the place. My website, TimMyersStorySong.com. I’m Tim J. Myers if you’re looking for me because Tim Myers is a pretty generic name. My website’s getting old. I’m going to have a new one fairly soon here. You can find it in the usual places. It’s out there. You can look it up easily.

It’s on the website. My website has links where you can get it. I also want to emphasize that in my book, I do a fair amount of talking like we’ve been talking about the social situation, all the rest of it. Most of it is stories of family life like being wakened up at 3:00 in the morning by the alarm that my two-year-old set. It’s about the real life of being a parent.

Stories we learn so well through stories often. It’s TimMyersStorySong.com. Thank you and remember his wonderful book. Give us one more shout-out with the title, Tim.

Glad To Be Dad.

Glad To Be Dad. A wrap-up quote that I wanted to offer readers that comes from Tim is simple and so poignant. “Fathers can play such a huge role in making a better world.” Thanks so much for being with us. It has been truly a joy, a pleasure, and a privilege.

Thank you, Dr. Manly. Right back at you. I so enjoy talking to you.

I adore it. Take good care.

Take care.

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About Tim J. Myers

IAOL 13 | FatherhoodTim J. Myers is a writer, songwriter, storyteller, visual artist, and senior lecturer at Santa Clara University. With 21 published books, Tim’s children’s books have been recognized by the New York Times, NPR, and the Smithsonian/ He’s placed 140 poems, won a first prize in a poetry contest judged by John Updike, written five adult poetry books, published a compelling book on fatherhood, won a major prize in science fiction, and has 50 visual artworks in journals or on websites. He also won the West Coast Songwriters Saratoga Chapter Song of the Year and the 2012 SCBWI Magazine Award for Fiction.

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