Thursday 26 August 2010 by By Jill Sikkens

Roles reverse

There's been a rise in stay-at-home dads, as more fathers embrace the role of primary caregiver.  As a soon to be stay-at-home-dad friend of mine said, ‘In a nutshell - I did the manly thing, by volunteering to do the womanly thing.’  To give you some background, his partner is earning a lot more than him and loves her job, whereas, he hates his, so they both agreed it's the logical thing for them to do. It does suit their situation, especially financially, and my friend didn’t seem to convey any obvious feelings of inadequacy about not being the breadwinner.  But where his partner's concerned, logic aside, I wonder how she really feels about the arrangement, on an emotional level. Lurking behind the practicalities, are there some fears and doubts?  Unusually, in this case, I have been given more of an insight into the male perspective than the female's.

Picture of baby lying on a mans arm


Can the bond between mother and baby be simulated by father and baby? Maybe it's more likely to happen if the father becomes the primary caregiver and more prominent figure in the baby's life. I'm not trying to suggest that the normal bond between dad and baby is any less, or that men are incapable of effectively nurturing a child, I'm just guessing that the relationship is different. Maybe it's a common misconception that because, generally speaking, Mum spends more time with baby, we just assume that there will be e a stronger bond between them? Ultimately, cliché as it sounds, if you look beyond amount of time spent with baby, then that leaves the key component in forming a bond, which is love, something that both parents, regardless of their work/home situation I'm sure, will give in abundance. 

Time for change?

The perceptions and pre-conceptions surrounding the roles of motherhood and fatherhood are changing.  I personally believe that this shift in traditional roles can only be positive thing for future parents. Back in January, the government actually announced plans to offer families more choice, essentially making it more feasible for Dads to stay at home, even if just for the initial post-birth period, by allowing them to take up to six months paternity leave.

picture of three men and two babies sitting around the dinnertable

Calling all Dads

Whether or not you are stay-at-home or alwa


ys-at-work, you'll be pleased to hear that the lazy husband myth has been quashed.  According to recent research, men contribute more than their fair share to the household. Unpaid work such as childcare and domestic work has been hard to quantify in the past, but according to Dr Catherine Hakim, we now have a much more accurate portrait of how families divide their ‘work.’ This new data has overturned the well-entrenched theory that, as a result of juggling family and work, women work longer hours.

Photo credit - via Flickr:  Emerille and Noam, Jemima & Lila

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