I've read a few articles lately that although may be in part written a little tongue in cheek, all convey the same message one way or another, a message basically shaming Dads and tarring them all with the very same useless brush. It all seems a little unfair to me and I truly think it's time to stop picking on Dads and give them a break. I'm sick of seeing men bashed for their parenting skills, absolutely none of us are perfect.
Now, I know I am lucky that my kids have a brilliant Dad and I know lots of other amazing ones too, but as well as some hopeless Fathers, I also know a few shady mothers that are far less likely to get picked up on for their actions. Don't get me wrong, I had the odd 'what is the actual point in you?' thoughts at 3am when baby Alf was crying for the 15th time that night and Mr. W snored away apparently immune to the screams of a newborn. Aside from a few moments though, our parenting journey has been pretty equal, we both play our parts and he is anything but useless and actually an amazing Dad that I know the kids will look back on fondly during these early years. We both make mistakes, we both learn, we both enjoy being with our children. Most the time.
The article I read today (the one that has tipped the scale for writing a post on the subject) suggests that a new trend for Father's could be the way forward. Firstly - a trend - really? The 'trend' to which they speak about relates to the Dutch 'Papadag' which is like a weekly Father's Day for Dad's to take over while Mum nips off to the shops, work or gym. The concept in itself is a nice idea, but the way it has been put across is pretty disturbing. Father's are parents too, so why is it OK that they get referred to as 'babysitters'?
Yes there are crap Fathers out there and yes there are also crap mothers.
I don't even know where to start with how insulting and patronising this whole thing sounds (with how it's written anyway). Firstly, Dad's don't need to 'babysit' their own kids, they don't need to be told when and where they can entertain their children, they are an equal parent, they are adults and this whole concept of it being a trend baffles me completely.
I'm sure like most Mums I do appreciate a bit of alone time, but the insinuation of popping to the gym and shopping in our 'time off' really makes me feel uneasy. It also states we could go to work during this time, wow, a woman going to work? Whatever next! Oh wait. I'm pretty sure if Mum goes to work and Dad is not at work, he can put two and two together and look after the kids, how is this a new concept?
On both parts this is insulting, but hugely so on the Fathers side stating that they sometimes 'step up to the mark for an hour'. No. I can't believe that things like this actually get written and published on a major website! I understand bonding with Fathers is important, as much so as with Mothers and yes a break from the routine does everyone the world of good, but why not encourage family time? Why not encourage parents bonding together or suggest ways to make more time all together. Why single anyone out?
Suggesting that Fathers aren't as 'useful' to children as Mothers is some old fashioned rubbish and I can bet for every below spec Father, there is a Mother somewhere of the same standard to even things out. I wonder if the next article will tell us how to look pretty for our husbands when they get back from work? Hello 1950.
I can't believe that in a world so completely obsessed with gender equality, feminism and rights for all, that people feel it's OK to generalise a whole half of the species and write them all off as useless parents. I'm sick of seeing negative press aimed at Dads, and maybe at times they do create fun outfit ensembles for the kids and maybe they don't all know what to do in an instant, but neither do any of us.
Please, give the Dads a break and if kids are seeing one parent less than the other, I'm sure we can put on our big girl/boy pants and sort something ourselves without jumping on some 'trend'. If anything is a trend, I'd say it's people abusing Fathers for fun. If either parent has to be told to spend time and help with their children, then I'm pretty sure an article telling them it's now trendy will not do the trick!
Have you heard of the 'Papadag' trend? What are your thoughts?