Being a parent indeed has its ups and downs. As a dad I’ve come to discover that life truly only began for me, when I became a parent. I have discovered a whole different side to me and my approach to life.
Before kids I had goals and ambitions, my motivation to achieve any of these goals was solely my own success and growth. After becoming a parent, my family has become my motivation, the reason I wake up and go about my day.
I am in a very fortunate position to have met the love of my life. We settled down and started a family. In the ideal world we would have married each other before starting a family. As we unfortunately don’t live in an ideal world, we have taken a different approach and will hopefully be married in the not too distant future. We welcomed our first born in May of 2014 and our second in March of 2018, we have been blessed with a relatively well-behaved set of girls. They really are all we could have asked for and more.
Every generation refers to themselves as the golden generation and as a result I use this term very loosely. I believe that we are the golden generation as we are old enough to remember a time before the internet and still young enough to embrace the ever-changing technology. Most of us can’t go a day without our phone which isn’t a bad thing. Being connected is great and we are becoming ever more aware of what’s going on across the globe and are more up to date on current news and events. If you had to go back two years you would have to actively watch the news or listen to the radio and wait for a news bulletin to know what’s going on across the continent unless it was a major event. Yet today I pick up my phone swipe in any direction and there in front of me is today’s top news, one click and I am immersed into all the news stories I could ever need. The struggles that we face today are by no means any more or less difficult than the struggles faced by previous generations. Where ignorance was a valid excuse, it is no longer the case as all the information you could ever need is now a click away.
Gone are the days where dads were the breadwinners and mums were homemakers. We live in a generation where parental responsibilities are shared as equally as the breadwinner role is shared. This proves the point that times are changing and therefore we should change the way we view parenting.
Take a moment to look around the next time you see a child in distress. Be it from a stubbed toe or being scolded, the go to for most adults is sending the child to their mother if they are available and 9 out of 10 times, not to their father. Despite the societal change we are supporting and witnessing, we are still directing caring responsibilities towards mothers. E.g. changing soiled clothing or dirty underwear.
When I am out and about with my whole family, we still get strange looks if I am tending to one of the girls and their mother is doing something else, or she’ll be on the receiving end of comments about “how refreshing it is to see a dad, getting stuck in”. We need to change the way we perceive parenting roles. Not a week goes by where I don’t scroll past an online video of a dad doing his girl’s hair and the praise that is followed by it. These examples in my opinion don’t aid in any way, as a dad I do my eldest’s hair regularly and if I had to get the praise that these dads get I’d be doing hair to the stars based on that accomplishment alone.
I know I’m am not alone on this and there are countless dads getting their kids ready for school or events or just generally being there. We don’t do it for praise or acknowledgement, we do it because we care. We care about our kids, we care enough about our partners to share the responsibilities and we care enough about ourselves, to break the mould and put all our indifferences aside.
I know that I am not the first and nor will I be the last dad to embrace my parental responsibilities. Simply put, I am not afraid to ‘dad’.
Dad life is well and truly the best life and I am grateful that we live in an age where dads are just as much care givers as mums are. My kids probably cry for dad just as much as they cry for mum, they have had their dad at home just as much as their mum and they know dad is quite capable of dealing with any and all situations.
We need more dads that are willing to turn up and be counted on, we need dads that embrace having a makeover just as much as they embrace teaching their sons or nephews to play with a ball, we need more dads to take accountability.
I know mums have been out there doing it for generations, supporting their sons as equally as they support their daughters. My utmost respect will forever go out to mothers for their roles, that they have in past and present carried out despite constantly being lesser viewed by society.
This reminds me of a social media post I saw that inspired me… on a piece of paper bearing the words “just a mum” was pictured. The caption went into detail about a woman who referred to herself and was referred to as just a mum, the poster had not realised all the work that goes into being a mother and was happy to use the reference until she herself was described as just a mum. Being a mother is never easy, having to deal with your own life and the demons that come along with it, but also having to make sure that the other humans that rely on you for everything, are given the best shot at life. The pressures that accompany being just a mum are tremendous hence my utmost respect and gratitude goes out to all the mums out there.
We need to work together and break the misconception of predefined parenting roles being assigned to us, we need to be more tolerant towards each other and most of all check up on each other some days. We are both mum and dad all in one. So, make sure the next time you at the school waiting for your kids or at the park with your kids, go out of your way and talk to the other parents that are there. You might be the first or last bit of adult conversation that they will have all day. Also remember, parents today are worth twice as much as they were in the past and will be worth twice as much as they will be tomorrow, as long as they turn up and be present.
Brett is South African born and currently resides in Buckinghamshire, UK. He lives with his partner and two girls, aged 4 and 1. Has recently started a blog called daily dad life. And you can catch him on Instagram @dailydad_life