I don’t normally feel nervous my children and especially not the baby who isn’t old enough to actually do anything yet! But today I felt a pang of emotion as I dropped off my daughter at a holiday workshop. She was so excited about doing the drama workshop and in her mind must have built up all sorts of things in her mind about how it would be. I hope that the reality was just as exciting. As I dropped her off I could see she was a little unsure of herself as all children are when they first meet but the person in charge was very welcoming and introduced her to some new children straightaway. Before I knew it I was out the door back in my car. Throughout the day I’ve been thinking about it and I’m now on the way to see her final performance they put together for the parents.

I guess the thing with parent nerves is that, just like with enemies, you should never show your fear.

I imagine that many children feel nervous about doing things and it might be compounded even more when their parents feel nervous for them. I remember when I went to Cub Scout camp first time only about 20 miles away from home, but I thought that was the end of the world and I was really homesick for parts of it.

The thing that really tipped me over the edge as a young boy was a note my mum put in my bag saying how much she would miss me.

It read, “love you and miss you lots of hope you have a good time mum X”. I can see what she was trying to do but it wasn’t very helpful. I didn’t descend into floods of tears and I didn’t make a fuss, but I spent a good part of that camp wishing I was at home. .

Sometimes as parents we have to hide our fears and just let our children get on with it.

They are far more resilient than we are and don’t find it hard to make friends and play alongside others. So the key lesson here let your children explore new things even if it feels a bit heart wrenching. Now I better get back inside and watch the performance!

Every day there are more and more things competing for our attention.

Wherever we look there is something screaming out at us “look at me, look at me!” A television has countless channels and now we also have on-demand programmes at any time of the day or night. Our emails and phones are closer to us than ever and it’s simple for somebody to reach us via WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat. And worse still, these things seem to demand an instant response from us. And that’s not to mention the good old-fashioned text message.

As parents we also have to remember the day-to-day routines of the other people in our lives.

Children need book bags and school uniforms to be ready for the day ahead. In the holidays they have activities and friends to see. Houses don’t run themselves either; they are machines for living in and we have to maintain them constantly. I don’t know if it has always been this way. Was William Shakespeare drowning in phone calls, emails, and play dates for his own children… at least his own version of them?

Some people seem to be able to do it all, but how?

The more resources you have to throw at something the easier the problem can be solved. Presidents and Chief Executives make use of personal assistants and have whole teams of people dedicated to different aspects of their lives. The average family may not have access to all these people but there is a way that we can use to make life much easier. And it starts with one simple concept.

In everything you do, capture everything!

Your mind is a finite resource. Your attention and interest can only last so long, no matter how hard you concentrate. This is why you have to take breaks after reading or studying. Anything hovering around our minds slows us down. So, get those things out of your mind and onto paper.

You should write down and capture every thought that comes into your head.

This is the only way to ensure our minds are free to focus on the important tasks at hand. Some people may think this dulls the mind and we should focus on cultivating memory but I really think that’s just a party trick and most of us just simply want to be able to function.

As far as tools for capturing things go there are many out there. You could use a simple pen and paper, a notepad, or you could type into the notes section of your phone. If you really want to be clever you can dictate the notes into your phone or another device as you think of them.

However you capture thoughts, and it really needs to be something you’re comfortable with, do it every day and every time you think of something.

The key thing after capturing everything is to organise it. Set sometime at the end of the day, hopefully when the children have gone to bed, to organise everything and set deadlines. Ask yourself, “do I really need to do this?”, prioritise the important things and then make them happen!

This is going to be one of those self-indulgent, navel-gazing posts that’s probably more for my benefit than anyone else. It breaks the rule of successful blog posts to offer some value to the reader. Read on at your peril.

When I started this blog it was with the intention of creating a movement to support men of the modern era who are becoming fathers.

Typically I have found it hard to maintain due to the business of real life getting in the way. The subject matter that could be the greatest source of interest and inspiration, i.e. my children, has actually been the greatest hindrance to my success. It all comes down to a question of priorities. At the end of the day, when I’m tired from trying to get a one year old to sleep while convincing the five-year-old to put herself to sleep I just don’t have the energy to do much else.

At the start of 2017 I set some relatively simple goals to grow my social media presence and, most importantly, to finish a book about millennial parenting. None of this really happened.

The annual subscription for hosting this blog came up again recently and before I had a chance to contemplate whether or not to keep going the auto renewal took over and answered the question for me. I really want to make something of this blog now I am more invested than ever in it.

On the horizon I see increasing acknowledgement of millennials as parents and the unique challenges they face. There are numerous articles now referencing this generation and a lot of it isn’t all that positive.

Above all I have realised that being a parent is a positive exercise.

Day-to-day life may be challenging but the business of being a parent is truly rewarding. And that has never changed between the generations. I may not have a big readership and I may not ultimately change the world, but I can change my small part of it. And in writing my blogs and contributing to this world I’m sure I can make positive difference in my own life. As Martin Luther said you can do great things or you can do small things in a great way. And so this blog continues.

This post isn’t going to be the best one I’ve ever written. It’s not tagged with useful tips. It isn’t visually appealing. I don’t even want it to be read by many people. But it’s important that I do it. And keep putting words down.

Progress is putting one foot in front of the other and keeping moving.

I always love to read about the people at the back of the London marathon. The ones who have committed to completing the 26.2 miles at all costs. They’re usually doing it because there’s some higher purpose, like raising money for charity. They might be injured military heroes who are battling onwards in memory of their friends who never made it back home. They might be doing crazy charity challenges dressed in absurb costumes, highlighting their cause and raising lots of money. The guy who completed the marathon in a full diving suit sticks in my memory. He could barely move and it took him the best part of a week to do it.

But diving suit marathon man did complete the race. He set a goal and went for it in his own way, and completed the personal challenge doing some good in the process.

My blog has a kind of higher purpose; I want to examine and celebrate modern fatherhood. Sometimes I just enjoy writing and go through periods of prolific posting. But then modern fatherhood can also get in the way. I’ve realised my last blog post was nearly two months ago.

I might not have created any blogging content over the past two months but I’ve made some great memories.

I’ve been on a couple of holidays with my family, during which time I completely turned off email and social media. Sure, I’ve got plenty of Instagram-able images and lots of anecdotes for Twitter. But I haven’t managed to share them. It’s been tough juggling everything with a 5 month old baby and some things have to give.

I do regret that I’ve stopped completely over the past two months. I wish I kept my blog going, even minimally.

Like the diving suit man I’ve realised it’s important to keep taking the next step forward, however laborious and challenging. Because at least I’m making some progress. So this post is designed to give me a kick up the backside and try to stick to my 2017 annual plan. If I keep going between now and the end of the year I’ve got a good chance of finishing my book on the Millennial Dad.

I’m counting on other great parent bloggers to keep me accountable.

I’m not asking for a buddy blogger to keep an eye on me and make sure I’m posting regularly, although that might be helpful. Rather, I want to commit myself to regularly reading other bloggers’ posts. There’s some truly inspiring content out there being presented in exciting new ways. The standard of the bloggers I follow gives me something to aim for.

Keep up the good work everyone, and I’ll keep on taking steps forward!

 

 

 

 

The recent BBC Annual Report disclosed a big gender pay gap between men and women. This made me think why men might reasonably be paid more than women.

Here are five times when men should be paid more than women for doing the same job:

1. They are better at their jobs.

If a man and woman do the same job, but the man does that job better than the woman then he should be paid more. The measurable for the job should be clearly defined and if a man performs better in those areas then he should be remunerated more highly. At the end of the day, we all perform certain tasks for money, and it follows that the better those tasks we perform the more money we should receive.

2. They don’t take career breaks.

If a man and a woman do the same job, and then the woman takes a career break, it’s reasonable to assume the man will continue in his current career trajectory while the woman remains at her previous level. It just so happens that it’s more likely women take career breaks to have children on maternity leave, and therefore when they come back into the workforce they do so at a position further behind than their male counterparts.

3. They generate more money.

If a man and a woman do the same job, a man should earn more money if he generates significant revenue for the organisation where he’s working. That could be in funds generated, or advertising or sponsorship. One example is in the world of sports where male footballers are paid significantly more than female footballers. This is because male football attracts more viewers and therefore greater degrees of sponsorship and advertising. It’s simple market forces.

4. They ask for more money.

If a man and a woman do the same job, and they are appraised on that job, the man may earn more money if he asks for a raise. It is more likely that men ask for raises than women and therefore more likely their bosses will give them a pay rise. See this article on how female graduates dramatically underestimate their worth.

5. They network more.

If a man and a woman do the same job, the man may earn more money and greater opportunities as he networks more than his female counterpart. Men, by training or inclination, often choose to socialise with colleagues and network with potential clients. The more somebody is known in a particular circle, the more likely they’ll be trusted by others and the more opportunities they will gain.

All of the above points should be prefaced by “if” and can equally apply to women as well as men. It may seem vastly unfair that there is a gender pay gap, but the historic nature of men and women and the way they operate in the workplace is balanced in favour of males and away from females.

Does this mean that women should act more like men to be paid more?

I don’t think this is the case. None of the above points are particularly male traits, rather they are traits that males have adopted. It may be that work environments have been unfairly biased towards these activities and male workers have adopted those practices to earn more money. Also, having more men in positions of power makes it more likely that other men will progress at the expense of women.

Gender balance will not be achieved by simply encouraging women to act more like men.

Hundreds, if not thousands of years of biased thinking towards men means that we must take affirmative action to redress the balance. I applaud the recent news  that female celebrities in the BBC have collectively demanded a pay rise to be more equivalent to their male counterparts. By asking for what they want, rather than accepting what is given to them, they have a much better chance of achieving their aims.

The Swedish government hopes to address the gender pay gap in part by emphasising equal parental leave. There is even a portion of benefit which must be taken by men or it is lost. The benefit to Swedish society is that women are given more opportunity to get back into the world of work and come closer to equalising pay over time.

When I first read about the story of the BBC, it made me think how things could be improved. At first I thought we should become gender blind when it comes to pay. In an ideal world this would be the case. However, we don’t live in an ideal world and we must work harder to make gender equity possible within the next few years.