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Great(er) Expectations

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There are more reasons than ever for men to carefully weigh the decision to become a father—beginning with increased social pressure. According to Donald N. S. Unger, the author of Men Can: The Changing Image and Reality of Fatherhood in America, pop culture used to offer two daddy types: "cold, distant, and efficient" (see Don Draper, circa Mad Men Season 1) and "warm, involved, and incompetent" (Season 4). Now both are culturally verboten. "Men's distance from parenting," Unger says, "has radically changed since the time of 'I wish I could help, honey, but I keep putting the red socks in with the whites, I keep dropping the child, I keep burning the food.'" Today's media representations of fatherhood include a recent Pampers ad starring Drew Brees playing with his infant son and photos of Brad Pitt carrying a man-appropriate Storksak diaper bag. A Families and Work Institute report reveals that fathers spend an average of 50 percent more time per workday with kids under 13 than they did three decades ago. Websites such as Rebel Dad and Real Men Drive Minivans help fathers navigate this tricky terrain, but men who aren't willing to make this kind of commitment are asking themselves if they're cut out for parenthood. "It's a fundamental assumption of humanity that children make people happier, but that's not always true," says Rufus Griscom, cofounder of the bobo parenting site Babble. "The reason to have kids is you get too good at controlling your life. You're basically submitting your life to more emotional volatility." —Laurence Lowe

Also on Details.com
The No-Baby Boom
Would You Let Your Wife Have Another Man's Baby?
Fatherhood 2.0

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