When social progress arrives at your doorstep, or at least at your local park! Those were my thoughts as, after nearly 8 years of being a mother and frequenting the local park, I went the other day with my youngest and for the first time, was outnumbered by fathers with kids. Whether this is a result of increasing FIFO (Fly-in / Fly-out) employment, or as I like to hope, social progress, remains to be debated but whatever the reason, more dads spending more time with their kids can only be a good thing.
Our family has spent a good number of years trying to redistribute the parental responsibilities on a more balanced level and as a result, I believe we are setting a strong foundation for our kids future, in particular their unconscious beliefs about their place in the world (and the kitchen). Men also benefit enormously from increasing their participation at home due to the richer relationships that they are able to have with their children, however, like with most of the changes we make in life, this is often not something which is apparent until they have made the changes. In the words of writer Malcolm Knox during an interview for the Adelaide Writers Festival the other day, he didn’t want kids until after he had kids.
With the well documented troubles facing male youth today, perhaps this is one area in which more work can be done to get men thinking about their roles as fathers and what role that will play in their lives. So often it seems that men sometimes stumble into their parental roles with little thought about how it will affect their lives and what they wish to bring to it. The recent stories in the media about high profile men who have had a “dad-change” are testament to this. Encouraging men to have a strong parental role and respecting their influence and roles as fathers will perhaps help the next generation of males to see this as an important part of their lives, before they have the baby!