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Should You Look For a Potentially “Involved Father” When You are Dating (with an eye towards marriage)?

When we are in love, we don’t often think about practical things like chores and childcare.  This is important for all couples but perhaps even more so for the career woman who will not do as much childcare or domestic chores as the stay at home mom.  Of course there are other options like nannies and daycare but if you want two parent involvement you must consider this issue before you join your life with someone.

For single women who are dating, imagining having a family with a potential date usually means imagining what your kids will look like or envisioning him teaching your son to ride a bike.  Dating couples rarely discuss who will take off work when a child is sick or whether childcare hours will be equally divided.  If you are a woman who is passionate about your career, you may need a partner who will really pitch in on the home front.

Today many career women consciously pick involved wonderful fathers so their kids get nurturance from both parents.  Here are some factoids about how this is changing and why it’s a really good thing to have equal parenting:

There are 105,000 stay at home dads according to the US census.

Both boys and girls who did chores with dad exhibited more positive behaviors than when they did housework with their mothers.

Fathers who assumed 40% or more of childcare had kids who were more likely to have friends of both sexes and who exhibited fewer gender stereotype expectations of their friends than kids whose dads were less engaged.  When they were adolescents they were more open-minded and had more liberal views about shared parenting and dual earner marriages than peers with absent dads.

When dads of school aged kids did the cleaning, cooking and errands with them these kids were more likely to get along with peers, have more friends, be happier, more outgoing and less likely to disobey teachers.  Both boys and girls that did chores with dads had more positive behaviors than when they did housework with their moms.

Daughters of working moms were more likely to flout traditional gender stereotypes and want careers than daughters of stay at home moms.  They were more assertive in school, participated more, asked questions and held leadership positions.  They were more independent and had higher sense of efficacy than daughters of stay at home moms.

Sons of working moms felt that men could do ‘female activities’ whereas these full time stay at home moms sons did not.

45% of men said that they were ready to become a house husband but only a third of women were ready to accept a man in that role.

I am not saying it’s not great to be a stay at home mom.  If you love that role, I think it’s a wonderful gift to spend that time with your kids.  I am just saying that it’s a gift for dads to spend time with their kids too and that gift has long been devalued.  But, no more!

Women are beginning to think differently, to share this terrain and to ask these questions about shared parenting in their romantic relationships early on.  They’re seeing the value in marrying a great potential dad.  Maybe men are seeing the opportunity to be more present in the daily lives of their kids as well.

Does anyone have a comment on how this shift in roles is affecting dating, romantic relationships and who men and women find attractive?

To explore more about shared parenting and how to assess it when dating, order my upcoming book:  When Mars Women date: How Career Women Love Themselves into the Relationship of Their Dreams by Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman.

*Permission to use excerpt with proper attribution

About this Author:

Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman is a licensed psychologist, owner of My Dating School (, author of Dating from the Inside Out, published by Atria Books, a regular speaker at The Learning Annex and is the NY Love Examiner. She’s been an expert on television like the CBS Early Show & the AM Northwest Early Show and a radio guest on the Curtis Sliwa show. She’s been quoted on, USA Weekend, the NY Post, Newsweek,, More,,, Fox Business, Better Homes & Gardens, Reader’s Digest, Redbook, Glamour, Forbes, Woman’s Day, Metro news­papers, Men’s Health, Seventeen, Complete Woman magazines, and the NY Times.  Her new book, When Mars Women Date: How Career Women Can Love Themselves into the Relationship of their Dreams ebook can be ordered on Amazon through October. It will come out in the print version in December.  Learn more about it on her website:!