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!

We were walking to ballet class this morning and passed the old house of one of A’s friends, who moved away from the area last year. 

“Do you remember going to Santino’s house?” I asked. 

“Who’s Santino?” She replied.

I’ve started to notice that she is forgetting some things in the past that meant something to her. 

A. was good friends with this little boy and used to play with him a lot. But now he’s moved away and we haven’t seen him, she’s gradually forgotten about him. The same is true for my great aunt, who died last year. We chose not to mention it and she has gradually forgotten my aunt’s name. I get a tinge of sadness when I think that she’s forgetting these experiences and people. But then her whole life only spans four years and she’s learning so much every day she can’t be expected to remember it all. My first memory isn’t until around aged five. I think I can remember being stuck in my cot when I was a baby but then perhaps I made up that memory. Some people claim they can remember being born!

As children grow up they forget things but that doesn’t mean those things are any less important.

They might not remember a holiday as a toddler but the experience will contribute to their development. It’s important to capture as many memories as possible. 

Take photos, record video, keep mementoes from holidays and drawings from nursery. In the digital age the millennial dad can do this really easily storing things digitally without filling up our homes with bits of old paper. It’s good to hold onto things and bring them up in later years. 

I enjoy looking through all the old stuff my mum has kept about me over the years. Occasionally it sparks memories of the past, and often it makes me think about the happy childhood I had. 

Being a parent means all your energy and time is invested in your family. There’s often not much time for anything else. Thankfully, these days it’s far easier to be connected wider family; your own parents, siblings, cousins, etc. Facebook takes care of family news and Skype is good for real-time conversations around the world. 

The internet generation is so well-developed that there’s now a website to help with every possible task. There’s so much out there that it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. So when I find something that works particularly well I want to let people know about it. 

Sign-o-matic is a website dedicated to making signs of all shapes and sizes. Think about all the possibilities – door signs, house sign, name badges, anything. 

When my mum asked me to print off and laminate a piece of paper I knew I could better. I searched for “laminated plastic sign” on Google and got a few results. I checked out a couple of sites but the one that got my attention straight away was Sign-o-matic. I don’t know much about sign making. And I didn’t really know what I was looking for. But I would know if I saw it. 

It was good to see numerous examples on the site. Designing the sign was a simple step-by-step process. I wasn’t overloaded with options and I could see at each stage how the finished sign would look. I don’t know much about costs for making signs but the prices seemed reasonable. I was able to get the finished sign delivered direct to my mum, meaning I don’t have to drive all the way over to her. 

There are loads of tools and websites that exist to make our lives easier. This is never more important than when a parent, as our time gets sapped by so many other things. Ultimately, it’s all about spending quality time with those we care about. Anything that helps me to do that gets my vote of approval. 

This morning I woke up with a cat crawling on my head. The house was empty. I was tired. I’d stayed up far too late watching episodes of The Man in the High Castle. I showered, dressed, fed the cat, had some cereal, then came to work. The first person I spoke to was a colleague I passed in the corridor.

Nothing about this is remarkable except it is the first time in a long time my wife and daughter haven’t been there. They are away for a couple of days and I have the place to myself.

It used to always be like this. I only ever had to think about myself.

Every morning I would only have myself to get up and get ready, as I would march to work. Then at the end of the day I might go out with friends on a whim, go the gym (hardly) or whatever else at home.

Parenthood changes changes your sense of time.

I never realised how much I could get done in the time available when it is focused by having a family. The necessity of feeding a child in the morning or making sure everyone is ready for going to school helps to focus my mind on the things that are important.

The busier I am with family life the more focused I am in work life.

I think many millennials are in the same boat. Making the transition from carefree lives to responsibilities takes some adjustment, but it is something want to do and don’t run from. And if we’re going to do it, we want to be 100% committed and do it well.

Now I’m a dad, I’m more productive than ever.

New Year’s Day came and went. I was a grumpy old man/exhausted parent and simply stayed in to relax. I decided not to do any particular resolutions in my day-to-day life but I’ve come up with three goals for the Millennial Dad blog and wanted to share them with you. 
1. Define my vision.

Have you ever watched the famous Simon Sinek TED talk video on leadership? If not, leave this blog now and search for it (but please come back later). In the video, he talks about how truly innovative companies inspire people to become involved. He says “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. I didn’t create this blog solely to capture my daily thoughts; I’m not that interesting and can’t write as well as many pro bloggers. But I did start the Millennial Dad blog because I believe there’s a new generation of fathers who are redefining parenting. I want to write about this and I want to help them. So one of my first goals for 2017 is to define the vision for what I want to achieve. If I can get that right I may just start making sense to people like you, who are kindly reading my blog!

2. Publish my book. 

The idea for this blog started with me sketching out the plan for a book on what the Millennial Dad is and tips for modern fatherhood. So far I’ve written a short book and I keep adding to it. I want to craft and edit it to perfection but I know the best thing to do is to just get it out into the world and refine as I go along. After all, I want to start a conversation not write a masterpiece. So goal number 2 is to get the book done!

3. Establish my web presence. 

This is a tough one and something I’ve been struggling with. I’ve started to follow lots of fantastic parent bloggers with wonderful websites, Facebook pages, Twitter profiles and Instagram. It’s all a bit overwhelming. For example, if I have a photo to share, do I put it on Twitter or Instagram? Should I use Hootsuite to post to many places at once or is this cheating? One thing I’ve learned from reading many brilliant blog posts is that content is king (or queen) so I’m practising my blog-writing skills and trying to learn as I go. By the end of 2017 I want to have an established web presence. That doesn’t necessarily means lots of followers, but I want to have something that shows who I am and what I’m trying to achieve. 

So there we have it. I’ve written it down now and put it out there. If you happen across this post over the course of the year, please do help me out by emailing phil@millennialdad.co and asking “how are the goals going?” There’s nothing like a bit of accountability to spur us on. 

Thanks, Phil.