The rise of "Daddy's last hurrah" reveals a depressing truth about modern parenthood.
There are many jokes to be made here (Jezebel made most of them), but Carley Roney of TheBump.com says it's a sign that dads are taking their role seriously. Still, she mainly frames “dadchelor” parties as a wistful send-off before parenthood's impending social isolation. She chalks up the parties to younger generations’ willingness to talk (and commiserate) about the challenges of parenting:
People are like, 'You wouldn’t believe it: you're not going to get any sleep and you're never going to have sex again’…the picture of parenthood that's been painted is so dire, it seems like you do need a last night of freedom.\n
Now that men share more of the responsibility for childrearing, they’re starting to realize just how hard it is. It's easy to react to these dude-fests with a chuckle and an eye-roll—believe me, I did both. I also thought of how much it would utterly suck to be at home, sober and 9 months preggers, while my partner got wasted off tequila shots. No fair!
But mainly I see these parties as a reflection of a culture that provides absolutely no support for parents. Actually, bachelor parties have the same concept—one last hurrah before entering the restrictive confines of the nuclear family. We take for granted the widening chasm between single people and families, and accept as a fact that we will be disconnected from our friends, become walking zombies, and never have sex again. This is part of the reason why I’ll probably only have one kid. But does it really have to be that way?
The answer is no. Just look at the rest of the world. Places like France and Denmark have free or subsidized childcare. Families in China, Latin America, and countless other places around the world rely on extended family and community to help raise children. Lots of hippie-era babies turned out fine after coming of age in communal living situations. As a culture, we are relatively less tolerant of children in public spaces than some other countries (though that depends on your 'hood). Dadchelor parties are quintessentially American—a burst of revelry and “bad” behavior brought on by a cloud of repression and the proverbial "grindstone." Sound familiar?
Don’t get me wrong, I love ragers. Go ahead, have a daddymoon! They sound fun. But let’s take the advent of the dadchelor party as a reminder to push for policies and cultural shifts that will make parents’ lives easier and more pleasurable. Shouldn't we be celebrating a child’s arrival, not mourning the death of a part of ourselves?