I’m totally with you about parental leave being an issue both sexes should care about. I’m hoping the millennials will pick it up and run with it. Most older voters, alas, still see it as being all about the mom. But there are a lot of guys out there who really, really want to be more involved as dads, but just can’t make it work while still maintaining the household income.
The plan (well, more of a concept, really) for my first marriage was that my wife would stay in the Navy after I got passed over for promotion; we’d go where the Navy sent us, with a decent salary and allowances on her part while I picked up computer consulting jobs, took care of the household, and was the stay-at-home dad when kids came. Not sure if it would have worked. She really wanted kids (only it turned out she couldn’t have any); I really wanted to make her happy, and if that took kids, so be it. I don’t think I would have just made a bad at-home dad, per se; I don’t know that I’d have been a good father, period. What you describe E’s dad doing does not make me wish for what might have been.
OTOH, Linda wasn’t the first woman to tell me, “You’d make a great dad!” And I’m doing pretty well as an uncle, IMHO (although uncles are just grandfathers with more energy — we spoil ‘em, we treat ‘em, we fill ‘em full of sugar and hand ‘em back to their parents while escaping the consequences). OTOOH, parenting is freakin’ hard. Best case, our kids (who’d be in their 20s now if things had gone according to plan) would be saying things like, “Y’know, I love my father, of course, but when I was a kid he would do these things…”