Feb 15, 2009

Home-Dadding - The Beginning

Thanks to Joanna Bounds for giving Reservoir Dad a mention in the 'Sunday Herald Sun Magazine' today. As the article suggests, it is true that Dads are taking a more direct role in raising their children today and this includes everything from nappy changing to nutrition to education and play. This is the case whether Dads are full time carers of the kids or the main breadwinner or a mixture of both.

I'm amazed that a large percentage or my generation were born into a room where Dad was absent. But it's often true. Just ask your father or father-in-law where he was when the children were being born. Things have changed a lot in thirty-five years. So I am even more amazed that, today, many people find it strange or noteworthy that a Dad takes a hands-on approach to baby and child-rearing.

As Jack – a Northern Dads Group regular – mentioned at last Friday's meeting, if we can accept that women are going to be working full time we have to allow for the fact that men will be taking on a more permanent role in the nitty-gritty of parenting. Families that are flexible in regard to the workload (and variety or work) shared by Mum and Dad are going to be the families that have a greater chance at happiness (in my opinion).

I've been thinking about the public perception of Home-Dadding recently. Just a month ago at Archie's introduction to four-year-old kinder I was greeted by the kindergarten teacher who said “you don't hear of that very often” when I mentioned I was the full time carer. That’s the first time I’ve had a comment like that in a while and it did make me feel like I was a little ‘on the outer’. It would be great to get to a point where Home-Dadding is seen as just another option for families and has as little eyebrow-raising potential as a woman working full time and focussing on her career.

So, over the next few weeks I’ll be inviting members of the Northern Dads Group to give us an insight into their transition into Home-Dadding. I thought this would be a good topic to help demystify the Home-Dad role because one underlying assumption that I have heard often is that Dads stay home due to lack of choice. While this may be the truth in some cases it doesn’t take into account how the role can then shift to become the most rewarding and challenging of a Dad’s life. Or that a Dad even having the option to be the primary care giver is an indication that his family are lucky enough to have more choices available to them. It also doesn’t allow for the countless other reasons that Dads stay home (and Mums go to work).

So, the NDG Dads will be telling us how the idea of staying home first presented itself. What were the circumstances? Were they happy, depressed, excited or shitting themselves in the early days and how has this changed? And whatever else they’d like to share.

I’d also be happy to include the experience of non NDG Dads. So if you have a story to share leave a comment to this post and I will include it in the coming weeks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good on you Res'dad for being a stay at home dad. I'm a stay at home mum and it is not always an easy job; I was telling my daughter's father the other day it is like being a guard for the queen, you may appear to be doing nothing at times, but you are always on guard - where are they, what are they doing, are they safe? You cannot just go into ga ga land, you have to keep your wits constantly. All the best to yourself and your family.