What I find most difficult to cope with are the stereotypes. Like the mobile phone ad on TV where a seemingly incompetent dad has to call his wife every five minutes because the baby is making noises. Everywhere you turn, especially in the media, there’s another bumbling idiot who can’t even change a nappy without mum supervising and correcting.
On Mother’s Day, the Sunday Star-Times ran a full-page ad for AMP. It announced “It’s not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it.” Now, I have no idea what that means, but it definitely sounds derogatory to fathers…
Women no longer have a monopoly on performing multiple roles. I don’t think they ever did. Fathers, too, are nurse, cook, psychologist, taxi-driver, teacher, comforting shoulder, story-teller, coach and motivational guru.
Dads get up in the middle of the night to tuck little ones back into bed. Dads’ hearts break when their children cry and there doesn’t seem to be any consoling them. Dads cringe at skinned knees and feel deeply proud at school productions. Dads need cuddles, too, and cherish milestones and the moments when they truly connect with their children.
Dads sometimes doubt themselves, but by and large, men are sensitive to the needs of their children. They want to be good role models. They want to nurture and raise healthy, happy children. And dammit, most of the time, most father’s do a pretty good job.
Just because we were not physically attached to our children for nine months does not mean we feel any less attached to them emotionally than mothers do.
To suggest otherwise devalues what it means to be a parent. Being a father, like being a mother, is a 24/7 vocation.
The AMP ad is only partly correct. Sometimes it is hard being a mother. Sometimes, too, it’s hard being a father.”