Being a dad is brilliant. I realise how privileged and lucky i am to have Little M in my life and enjoy every moment we have together. While it’s not always bubbles and steam trains, it is what I had signed up for and has been even better than I had hoped.
I guess because it was a choice I was fully signed up to and something Mrs M and I had planned in advance, there are a few frustrations I have observed since Parenthood was on the cards.
The image portrayed of dads as incompetent, useless, cake eating idiots being one of my biggest annoyances (I’m looking at you Peppa Pig!).
A week with my brother-in-law; two months ahead of him becoming a dad was a brief reminder of how in the very early stages this stereotype is projected onto soon to be fathers. What’s worse is that I saw myself starting to do it!
I am not sure he finished a sentence to anyone who has children without being told that the particular scenario he was speaking about “would never be the same again” or “it would all change when the baby arrives”.
Now despite my first pre-conceptions of my brother-in-law… he is not an idiot. Like most soon to be dads, he made the decision to become a parent with his partner and has had several months to prepare for the arrival. He has also previously met a baby, knows other parents and most of all wants to be an amazing and involved dad.
All these phrases support the stereotype that he couldn’t possibly be aware of what is ahead and that while mum has an inbuilt natural connection and ionic bond – Dad has nothing to offer apart from making cups of tea and fetching things until the baby is old enough to kick a football.
We expect mums to be great and dads to be useless and so surprised if they are changing a nappy that people laugh about it! How can this be positive for a child and a parent’s bond?
I am not taking anything away from mums; I am suggesting we should be more supportive and improve our approach to encouraging dads to be a valuable, engaged and emotional part of their new family by expecting it before the baby is born.
…and don’t get me started on being ignored by the midwife!