Jim Mikesell, a forensic psychologist and rehabilitation neuropsychologist, brings O.G. Lead Dad vibes, with two daughters and two sons all working now. Both professionally and personally, he knows the importance of fathers being involved at home and supported at work.
“I am amazed – in a disappointing way – that not much has changed for so many men since I was a graduate student,” Jim said. “Fathers need to give themselves permission and then assert their rights to be equally bonded and engaged with all parenting activities.”
One thing he did early on was to work to bond as equally with his children as his wife did. “I would get up every time the baby got up, change the diaper, bring her to my wife for breastfeeding, then burp her and put her back to bed. I always looked for opportunities to engage. Those were simple but important episodes of interaction. And lo and behold my daughter was just as bonded with me as my wife.”
“There were forces against that,” he said. “I’d go to childbirth classes. I’d talk about bonding. And I’d hear, what we really need is help with the laundry. I was advocating for fathers to give themselves permission to bond more with their children. I felt I was told that wasn’t your territory.”
Today, he advocates for couples to look at the family as a business – and work together, with a clear plan and flexibility with roles, to make it as successful as it can be. “This is about educating men about the different ways it means to be a man,” he said. “It’s okay if we cry. It’s okay if our spouse makes more money than we do. We still raise men to be warriors. We need to give men more permission to define being a man as a nurturer.”
Welcome, Dr. Jim Mikesell, to The Company of Dads. We look forward to you sharing more of your wisdom with our community.