When will father's be considered as an equal parent?
1 CommentFriday, 19 October 2018 | Mummy and Little Me
When will father’s be considered as an equal parent?
Something always baffles me when I go out sans children, they animatedly look round me to see if I have them hidden in my hood and ask what I have done with them.
Sometimes they ask if ‘dad is babysitting’.
I want to scream that no their father isn’t a babysitter he looks after his children too, like I do, as an equal parent.
‘Oh that’s nice he looks after them while you go out’.
I feel as though society still needs to catch up slightly when it comes to the roles of parenting between mothers and fathers.
It probably doesn’t help when people like Piers Morgan make fun of Dads (Daniel Craig) for actively getting involved in the childcare and baby wear (shock horror) in public!
Views of what is and isn’t masculine, what each parent’s role traditionally is, I believe is almost irrelevant now a days.
Both me and my partner do an equal share of the childcare, the housework and so on.
He works full time as a chef, and I work part time as a freelance content writer and blogger.
Because I only work part time it is assumed that I should do the childcare, housework and get up in the night too.
We divide the childcare and we are equals, despite the difference of hours.
We both take on different roles, which can evolve, change week on week.
I am fed up of people viewing fathers as the inferior parent, the one who isn’t doing their share.
Granted there are some that don’t, some that live up to and believe in the 1950’s roles of yesteryear (Piers I am looking at you) but there are so many that do so much more.
Thousands of memes all portray how useless fathers are at looking after their children flood our feeds every day.
The take up on shared paternity leave is still low and society has not quite caught up to the changing role of the modern dad.
No longer does he sit outside the delivery room and leave it to the mother to raise the children.
Recently, on a lunch out with the baby and his friend, Greg couldn’t find a suitable toilet to change the baby in and had to ask a woman to hold the door open in the female toilets while he changed our baby’s bum!
It’s funny how behind we still are when it comes to viewing fathers as equal to mothers.
Yes, we carry the baby’s, yes we give birth but they too are right their with us in the trenches raising the small humans with us and do their fair share. I wouldn’t say they get off scot free do they, we all have to endure the Bing Bong song for 4 years straight.
People assume because he works more hours, he doesn’t do anything else, as though his job description states he cannot work and be an equal parent as well.
But when our second son was first born and I was suffering from Post Natal Depression it was Greg that took care of everything.
Even now, he is the one that generally gets up in the night despite working more hours than me.
Because he is their parent too.
I used to beat myself up that he was the better parent because he worked, got up in the night, and did the nursery pick up/ drop offs, the guilt overwhelmed me and made me feel like a failure.
I used to feel ashamed because he took care of them when I couldn’t.
I knew friends who managed and did it all themselves with little or no help, and thought that they must be better than me.
If I hadn’t cooked tea, or did the washing or some other menial task because it was a hard day with the kids, or I just didn’t have time I used to feel like I was a failure.
Like I had failed him.
But someone asked me why did I feel guilty? What was this the 1950’s who determined what each parent should or shouldn’t do to be deemed a worthy parent?
Why shouldn’t he get up? Yes, he worked but they were also his children too.
We certainly don’t have the winning formula and will have the occasional blow out who does more, who is more tired (spoiler a lot both of us), but we are in it together.
It has just taken a while for us to get here, and I still get the pang of guilt or failure but I know that both of my children are being raised by both of us. Equally.
We tend to take it in turns, each take a child at bedtime etc. and it sort of works.
I work on his days off, and I look after the children while he is at work.
Because these archaic ‘roles’ are portrayed in the media we have an enforced idea of what we should both be doing, and when it doesn’t quite work out like that we are made to feel like we have failed.
We are still in the dark ages when it comes to our views of father’s and this must change.
Just as our working lives have changed, we have to adapt and do what works for us, and our family.
The pressure on a new mum can be damaging where she takes it all on herself because she feels she has to.
Afraid to ask for help from her child’s own father in case the world judges her as a bad mother, not having it together or having it too easy.
But actually what makes you both great parents is doing it together and for viewing each other as equal no matter who gets up more, does the school drop offs or even change the third pooey nappy of the day.
Perhaps then, society will begin to catch up and view fathers as equal parents too.
Vicki Cockerill is a Freelance Content Writer and NICU/CHD Mum to two boys, she authors The Honest Confessions Of A NICU Mum Blog and co-founded the @KnackeredandNorwich Social Club and campaigns for NICU and MMH issues. You can contact her via her blog or social media;