Modern-day fatherhood should be talked about more. Modern day dads’ involvement in day to day parenting has dramatically increased over the past few years to the point where the role of fathers has gone from distant breadwinners to equal co-parents with their partners.
This is happening at different rates across families in the UK, but it’s clear that in a modern age, fathers play different roles in a child’s life compared to the stereotype of yesteryear.
However, while getting involved in day to day parenting is great, we need to look ahead particularly as we lean into the unprecedented year of 2021, and ask ourselves where dad’s role could evolve even further. This is an important topic as while we’re seeing more dad baby carriers being worn out in public as a great symbol of modern day fatherhood, we can be doing even more to truly progress the role of dad this year.
1. Work-Life Balance
Even if you grew up in a traditional household where the father went to work every day, and the mum stayed home; the last decade has been one of huge change and rightfully seen many more mums re-entering the workforce. This isn’t just great for mums – it’s a great opportunity for dads too!
Balancing work and home for a dad can transform the whole dynamic of parenthood. It can be overwhelming when you are a young father in 2021, work has resumed, and the schedule feels even tighter than before with homeschooling and more.
Dads I speak with want to make the most out of their time at home, but are also concerned with the balance of their work as well as their partners. It’s not easy but we need to keep maximizing the time we have with our children; whether that’s as simple as enjoying meals together, play or finding an activity that you both enjoy.
But there’s also one other thing that dads can lean into here – a conversation with partners about the work-life balance that’s going to work for them both. Too often I see couples simply not talking about it, and that conversation for dads is more important than ever this year.
2. Mental Load
Fatherhood is a beautiful thing, but it comes with its fair share of challenges. Most of the conversations I see online speak to the sacrifices that mothers make; but a growing number of dads have similar pressures, and leaving dads out of the conversation adds a lot of pressure on them.
Most fathers compound this but staying silent about it and it’s time we open up the conversation about mental load to men as well.
However, this is also a call to action to dads. Mum’s in general carry a mental load that looks different when compared to dads – and that can often cause friction. The key here is speaking up – for both mums and dads!
3. Speaking Up
Let’s be honest here, men as a whole aren’t the best at speaking up, and too often dads are silently struggling without an outlet. For things to be different, speaking up is essential. Because people are not aware of a modern-day dad’s struggles, there is no much that can be done. For you to be there for your child and your family, speaking up about the challenges that come with fatherhood can help. Parenting is not a competition between parents; it is one of the greatest experience in life, and you should enjoy it.
4. Communicating with kids
Parents need to be able to communicate effectively and openly with each other, but just as importantly is the need to with their children too.
We all want to be the sort of parent whereby our children can come to us in future where they may have a problem, right? Well let’s start creating that environment now. Don’t wait until they are all grown up. You need to be honest, open and positive with your child and partner, starting from the small talks. You can disagree without starting a war.
5. Reset What Is Important
The crucial thing is to be there for your child from early on. Set your priorities because many challenges come with being a parent and a professional today. Knowing what is important at the end of the day will only help you be a great dad. How you manage your home responsibilities and other duties, know who to please and who to disappoint when it comes to it. Balance is essential, but one will always outweigh the other, so having your priorities right will help you choose if that time comes. But to do that reset – make sure you’re making time for it where you can really reflect on what success for you this year looks like dad.