- By Michael Reyes Andrillon, MPA
On any given day I find myself in a more modernized approach to parenting than I ever thought I would be. Blame it on Portland and the effeminate men, but I love my role as a father. My wife and I come from more or less traditional families.
I am a military brat and my wife is the daughter of migrant farm workers. After our son was born I held him in my arms and promised his little red face that I would always be there for him.
The first step I took was learning " the swaddle" from the nurses at Kaiser where I was held prisoner with my wife while she recovered from a very long and hard labor. I stayed up on long nights and rocked him to sleep. I learned to play the guitar and make all types of silly noises to keep him happy.
When my wife returned to work, we were faced with the dilemma of her work schedule. I stepped up to the plate and became the primary care giver for our son. My mornings start with breakfast for both of us. My wife prepares his backpack for day care and then I drop him off. I make sure I get my work done before five and rush through down town traffic back to the east side to pick him up before six pm.
I bring our son home and give him and myself a snack and then depending on what day of the week it is I cook a traditionally Puerto Rican dinner complete with arroz and habichuelas. My son loves to stay in the kitchen with me and sample some morsels. He calls it quality control, I tell him to go play with his Legos.
My mother-in-law boasts to her "comadres" about her son-in-law who cooks, cleans and plays with his son. In her eyes I am a rare commodity, but in speaking with my male Latino friends I am actually just in a position now with my education and upbringing that I can stay home with my son so I can teach and play with him.
I call it the new macho... I like to drink beer, watch sports and hang out with my friends, but sometimes I might have a carrier with me and a diaper bag, I have to admit I turn a few heads, but I love my son and I love being a family man.