I found an old article online from 2014 stating that fathers do on average 4.4 more hours of housework and 4.6 hours more childcare than fathers in 1995. This shows an upward trend of fathers becoming more involved with their families. Three years down the line perhaps this has increased even more?
There’s no doubt that fathers are taking a more active role in their families.
What I am talking about is not the traditional role of men to work all week and sleep at the weekends, and do a bit of DIY. No, dads today are far more interested to spend quality time with their families. They don’t want to do things on the periphery anymore, they want to be at the heart of things.
In my few short months of reading and blogging about parenting I’ve noticed there are so many dads out there who play active roles in their families like never before. There are loads of people using the hashtag #SAHD in their Twitter profiles. This always makes me envious as it would be great to be a stay-at-home dad.
The more dads blog about parenting, the more we all learn.
This community of dad bloggers is a huge source of support, one I had never before considered. There are so many great tips out there that range from funny and informative to sometimes sad and reflective. Behind the fantastic dad blogs there are also thousands of dad blog readers, who comment and support one another. I joined a few dad Facebook groups, notably the Dad Network group, and it’s fascinating to see how many people are out there all around the world looking for advice, helping each other, and keeping each other going.
Whichever way you look at it, being a dad is different from being a mum.
There’s amazing support for mums and it’s beginning to grow for dads, too. For too long fatherhood has been an individual activity that has not been talked about. Men would go to work and go to the pub and play sports and talk about anything else apart from families (of course I am generalising). I just don’t get the feeling that dads of previous generations really talked about what it was like to be a father.
Dads are beginning to support each other when it comes to advice about parenting.
Dads recognise we are all in it together. The millennial dad knows he needs to juggle work, life, and family commitments. Dads need each other to share things from their unique perspective. Dads also need to celebrate each other’s achievements as fathers. We’re beginning to get good at patting ourselves on the back and realising we are doing a good job.
But this increasing commitment from dads isn’t being acknowledged… yet.
Wider society is still full of general comments about dads being lazy, uninvolved with their children, working/sleeping/drinking all the time, etc. They think dads can’t change nappies or brush hair or choose clothes; ok, sometimes our fashion sense isn’t that great but we can do it. Sometimes it can wear you down. Amidst all the stereotypes about dads I’m starting to see a few positive stories emerge in the media. Articles about dads doing more than ever before, or choosing to spend time with their children above having higher paid jobs. All of these show an upward trend in the involvement of fathers.
The more I read the more I want to help celebrate modern fatherhood.
If we celebrate the role of fathers then we encourage others to start being more involved with their own families. But I am not preaching about the way men act as fathers. Just as important is the role of society in recognising the good work of dads. First of all, this has to happen through acknowledgement amongst our families and friends, and then the media needs to start celebrating fathers. Finally, fathers need to start having equality in parenting alongside women. This means governments need to make things fair for men in terms of parental leave, flexibility in contracts, child benefits, and perhaps even equal access when things go wrong.
Women have rightly fought for equality over the past 100 years and I hope it continues, particularly speaking as a father of a daughter. At the same time of focusing on equality between men and women, we must also encourage a quality of parenting.
Without equal roles between the mother and father, how are our children supposed to believe they are equal when they are older?
The modern father is more involved than ever and it will only continue. This is a remarkable turnaround from the last thousand years of the way parenting has been done. I don’t think our society has yet fully appreciated just how much of an impact the modern millennial dad movement will be.
As we approach the weekend I look forward to spending more time with my family. The eagle-eyed may have noticed that I have failed to comment on the 4.4 extra hours of housework men now do, mentioned earlier. I can assure you I will be making up for that over the weekend!