Stay-at-home dads deserve our respect

Sara Pollard Picture: Laura Scottern Photography
Sara Pollard Picture: Laura Scottern Photography
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Sara Pollard, director of Free From Temptation bakery at Fareham, talks about the problem of perception with stay-at-homes dads

WHILE chatting with good friend, Gordon Kidson-Petlam, we broached a taboo subject: stay-at-home dads.

Gordon explained that while there are a lot of groups and information aimed at stay-at-home mums in Fareham, the dads have a tougher time due to stereotyping surrounding them being the main carer.

Gordon told me about a time he was on his way to the creche at his local gym, carrying his daughter across the car park.

When he arrived he joked with the staff that ‘he wouldn’t need a workout now’.

A mum overheard this and commented: ‘Now you know how we mums feel on a daily basis’.

That simple, unfeeling passing comment cut Gordon deeply.

Gordon is proud to be a stay-at-home dad while his wife works full time.

He is a brilliant and devoted father to his two children and their situation is perfectly normal.

So why can’t the rest of society accept this?

An enlightening article online at stayathomedads.about.com (search for Top Misconceptions About At-Home Dads) sums it up perfectly with its breakdown surrounding common misconceptions.

Examples given of the kind of attitudes many people have include ‘look at him giving his wife a well-deserve break’ and ‘oh, he must have lost his job.’

Another common stereotype we hear a lot is ‘a sick child should be with their mother.’

But surely we have to accept that mums and dads are now on an equal footing when it comes to parental programming.

So why should one be considered better than the other? Why is it still so often thought, in 2015, despite fathers now having equal paternity leave to that of mothers, that your gender determines what your family role is?

Why is it assumed that mum stays at home and is the caregiver while dad goes to work and is the provider?

In my book and against tradition, I firmly believe either parent is equally and perfectly capable of caring for their child.

Times have changed and if we are able to acknowledge it’s no longer safe to play in the street, surely women are allowed to take over the bread-winning status and provide for their children.

It doesn’t mean a stay-at-home dad isn’t capable of employment, it simply means in their family it’s best for mum to be the main financial provider and dad to be at home with his children.