Actor Kevin Hart stars in a new Netflix movie on fatherhood called Fatherhood. The movie aired days shy of Father’s Day. It is a brilliant combination of real-life emotions, humour, and myth-busting.
When Matthew Logelin, the character played by Kevin, loses his wife a few hours after childbirth, Matthew has to figure out parenting single-handedly.
As a side note, more conversations need to take place about how dangerous pregnancy and childbirth are for women. Matthew’s wife, Liz, was killed by pulmonary embolism, which is a blood clot that travelled to her lungs making it impossible for her to breathe. This was the day after she gave birth.
Back to Matthew.
As a black man with a supportive family, her mother and mother-in-law volunteered to step in and give the child a home and a mother figure.
Contrary to popular stereotypes, Matthew refused for Maddy to be raised by Gogo.
Everyone thought he could not do it
“Patience, emotional vulnerability, and breasts.” These are the three things Howard, Matthew Logelin’s boss, says women have that men don’t. According to him, this is why women are better primary caregivers than men.
Matthew went against every opinion about his capability to raise his daughter. He did it and they had an amazing relationship.
The beauty of the film lies in the fact that it is based on a true story. Matt Logelin, an author, did lose his wife Liz about 13 years ago to blood clotting after childbirth.
He never had an overbearing mother-in-law that wanted to take over his parenting job, but he did have an option to not parent.
He went against everything society was dictating to him about parenting, even attempting to join a mom group, but being voted out, according to USA Today.
Sadly, society has made men feel like parenting is not for them, but should be a woman’s job. Hints of patriarchy trickling into a part of life that has nothing to do with gender.
It takes two to make a baby, and the two are, therefore, fully capable of raising a child. If Matt was able to foster such a loving relationship with her daughter like the one seen on screen, then men are equally given the patience and emotional vulnerability to parent, even singlehandedly.
Traditional families are formed with a hands-on mother and a father that believes their minimal contribution is adequate. Changing diapers, feeding and sleeping become the mom’s big job because “women are nurturers”.
Even without breasts, dads like Matt garner all the patience and emotional vulnerability they need to raise kids alone.
And the world is full of them, but the narrative we still hear is of the absent and uninterested dad.
The dads that still define fatherhood as monetary support, and the ones caught in the cycle of absenteeism. When being an absent father is all you know, it is easy to fall into the same fate.
Kevin Hart’s parenting journey
Speaking to Will Smith on the Round Table Talk, Kevin said the biggest values that he thinks constitute a good father are “being different from his”.
Kevin and Will’s fathers have created a blueprint of what not to do when you become a dad. Kevin’s was a drug addict, and Will’s was a vet who thought home was a military camp.
The older generation of dads lived in a tougher world than what is seen today. Many fell into terrible cycles, while others made bad decisions, but we are in a different time now.
Fatherhood has become about time and not only money.
Dads are involved and hands-on.
Even without breasts, they can still form an important part of the breastfeeding journey.
All it takes is a father who wants to do it, and like mom, they can learn together and both be great caregivers.