The modern day dad - are we really ready?
I tried something different on Saturday. A dad’s club run by a local nursery. It was brilliant - not just for the kids - I mean who wouldn’t love Den Making, Sand Pits, Story Time, and all wrapped up with a lovely hot chocolate!?
But it was also great to simply socialise with a few other dads in the local area. As a dad who works full time, it can be tricky to get out and meet other dads, especially in a new town - so these moments are actually pretty good all-round.
I’ve spoken to a fair few other people about the experience since, and I’d estimate around 70% have seen it as a joke in some way - “what, really?” “Why do they waste their money on that,” and my personal favourite - “I don’t get that at all.”
I tried to explain that it’s there to encourage more bonding time with our children, and also meet new dads (and it was also free!).
But the whole thing also got me thinking about where things are at with the modern day dad.
Dads want to be more active
It’s a subject with a huge range of different factors, and with over 250,000 stay at home dads now, it’s clear that a shift is starting to happen rapidly across the UK.
But even though study after study shows how fathers want to be more actively involved dads across almost every area of their parenting life – there’s still a strong sense that the wider attitude in business and society is anything but.
Mums are not the only target
Everywhere we look, the world is parenting is still a vastly mum dominated world. And, hey, that’s not really a complaint as we have to realise that mums have been, over the last few decades, the de-facto primary caregiver.
But as more mums are breaking barriers of their own (and quite rightly), dads need to be doing the same. And some dads are starting to make their voices heard – where something as previously unquestioned like a ‘Mother and Baby’ aisle are now shifting to convey a more balanced sense of parenting.
Why did it take so long?
There are however, still a huge range of areas that need more dad’s focus. Everything from changing rooms, baby screenings at the cinema, and products from health through to even everyday items like the kids water bottles– it’s time we got our heads out of thinking as mum as the only caregiver, and start to reflect the facts of modern dad life.
It’s not just a UK issue ofcourse, but when you consider that New York is now ahead of most UK cities when it comes to nappy changing rooms being more accessible for dads, you realise quite how far we have to go yet.
Can dads find their voice in 2018?
As we embrace 2018, I hope that more dads can make their voices heard and get the organisation’s thinking about the parenting balance that our modern day attitudes really reflect.
Only through that will we start to evolve the way we as a larger society talk, see and hear about parenting, and who knows, perhaps we’ll even start to take the humble dad’s club even more seriously.
Han-Son runs DaddiLife – a parenting website for dads with a range of tips and advice across health, things to do, and reviews - exclusively focused on the modern day dad.