So, for the third time in as many bank holiday weekends I found myself at home with my three boys – Thing 1, Thing 2 and Thing 3 - while my wife was away. There was a time when the thought of this would have filled me with dread but as I’ve fine-tuned my parenting skills I tend to look forward to it now (her being away that is!).
Yes, I could easily go down the route of writing about the trials and tribulations of my four days with my boys but I’ve done that before so instead I’m going to focus on the reaction that I - and I’m sure many dads like me - receive when one hears that I’m minding the kids for a number of days. There’s usually a snigger, a laugh, a pat on the back or a mock prayer to wish me well.
These, of course, are all in jest and if you know me or follow me on Facebook you’ll know that I like a laugh
BUT I can’t help thinking that in a society where typically stay-at-home parents tend to be mums, is there a deep-rooted feeling that dads aren’t 'really' capable of looking after their kids as well as mums?
Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t want to be a stay-at-home dad. It’s just not for me. A few months back I saluted the stay-at-home/single parent because more often than not it’s a thankless, stressful job, so I absolutely take my digital hat off to anybody that does fulfill that role whether by choice or circumstance.
This doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t be able to do it though. Or that I wouldn’t be bloody good at it either. I would. And I say that not with arrogance but with utter confidence.
Gone for the most part are what I call the ‘Shirley Valentine’ days where the ‘man’ goes out to work and comes home to a glistening house, a steak meal and a few cans in the fridge.
Granted, some people still live this way and if it works for everybody involved then fair play. I’m not one to judge. It’s just not how I and Mrs. DD live. As both working parents we tend to come home and divide up the tasks (cooking, feeding, washing, wiping, playing, homework, laundry etc) as evenly as we can.....granted I’m more the wiper than the chef.
I just think in this day and age, dads probably still aren’t given the credit that they deserve when it comes to raising their kids. Or rather, people don’t have the belief that dads can do a great job (or as good a job as mum) raising their kids.
Certainly, cartoons like Peppa Pig, where Daddy Pig is the stereotypical family buffoon or likewise Homer Simpson or Fred Flintstone, don’t exactly help matters.
And before anyone mentions it, I’m aware that I usually take the tongue-in-cheek approach when writing about parenting but I can assure you that I do this consciously because, well, that’s my personality and I only ever write about things that I’ve experienced/observed as a dad hence I like to think I know what I’m talking about.
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Anyway, I'm sure I could go on and on about this but I’m more interested in getting your thoughts on it. So, if I’ve managed to hold your attention thus far, let me know how you think dads/men are perceived in the parenting sphere regardless of whether you’re a brilliant mum or a brilliant dad.