The funny thing is, when I started writing as The Out of Depth Dad, I never contemplated putting up a post like this.
That’s life. I suppose.
But it’s slowly started to dawn on me that the way men are treated (by our society) when they take on a child-caring role, isn’t funny.
Not funny at all.
The daily ebb and flow of negativity and ignorance that stay at home dads (and the like) encounter on a daily basis is having a genuinely detrimental effect.
What am I talking about?
For our society to be truly equal – for both men and women to get out of life what they want, not what is arbitrarily expected of them as a result of their gender – our attitudes toward children must change.
The raising of the next generation is not the sole responsibility of women. It seems an obvious statement – but so many of the structures that surround us still imply that this is the case. As we know, great work is being done to liberate women from these binds and not a moment too soon.
The thing is, there’s another part of this equation that must be addressed. Yes, women shouldn’t be compelled to take the lion’s share of parenting duties. They should be free to follow their own path without fear of censure. But, equally, men should be allowed to take on a greater role in raising their kids – without meeting a host of prejudices and outdated perspectives.
It’s time to lift the stigma around men in child-caring roles. Schemes such as shared parental leave are never going to be successful if men are concerned about taking them up.
Men feel that becoming a primary provider of parental care will effect their status, their career prospects and, frankly, their manliness. As long as these beliefs are held by a majority of men, there will be never be true gender equality around childcare.
I’m proud to be taking part in Vilo Sky’s ‘Managing to be dad’ conference.
I’ll be speaking about issues SAHD’s face and the solutions that need to be found in order to change the way fatherhood is viewed by our society.
The time for taking fatherhood seriously has come.