Over Christmas I spent a wonderful day with two of my oldest friends and as we all have families now the day was full of fun. As I sat and watched the grin burst across George’s face when one of my friends dropped him into a ball pool, I started thinking about what great Dads all my friends are. I am at the age now where all of my friends have at least one child and some have been Dads for a number of years. The more I thought about it, the more I realised that every one of them has something that makes them stand out as a great Dad. Then I started to think why this is true.
There is little doubt that I am part of a generation of Dads who are more involved in raising their children than ever before. I have also accumulated a set of friends who can summon their inner child so readily they have no problems relating to their own sons and daughters. Who would have thought being so immature could ever be useful? They are there for the difficult stuff too and share the sleepless nights, nappy changes and child care with their partners as equally as they can.
I have read several blog posts claiming that the modern Dad has a big barrier holding them back and attempting to exclude them from the world of parenting. I am talking about sexism. I find myself agreeing with many of the points raised by excellent bloggers like John Adams on Dad Blog UK except for this central point that we are victims of sexism. Although sometimes I have been treated differently for being a Dad in situations usually dominated by Mothers, I have always put this down to inexperience. Most of the time this negative treatment comes from well-meaning people who have just got it wrong. In short, I don’t feel there are any barriers to being a more involved Dad and I have never felt restricted. There are massive opportunities for us to get involved and it is up to us to go and grab it with both hands.
In contrast I think Mums have to put up with far more than I ever have to as a Dad. I have never been made to feel guilty about what sort of milk my baby drinks, never been questioned about if I am planning to lose weight or had my career choices questioned. I have blogged before about how my wife is only asked about George’s weight when I’m not there, as if I don’t exist. I saw this in action last week when she actually had to point to me to illustrate the sort of size George is likely to grow to. It’s sad to see that most of these questions come from other women seemingly lacking in a little empathy.
I’m not going to feel held back as a parent by my gender and I plan to correct anyone who makes assumptions about me based on my lack of ovaries. Likewise, I don’t expect my wife to have justify her decisions when I don’t have to.
Do you think that Dads are victims of sexism? Do you think my experiences represent the men in your life? How long can I continue to butcher song titles for my blog posts? Comments in the box below.