I was really intrigued by an article on Mail Online, which talked about the bonds children and babies have with their parents.
I am often bothered by the perception that only mothers have that ‘special bond’ with their children and it is mums who are ‘in charge’ of parenting.
I have noticed that perception in many situations since I became a father. For example, it happens when a doctor directs all their information and advice towards my partner Serena rather than both of us.
It also crops up when friends and family say that I am ‘babysitting’ when I am looking after my own children.
I understand this is just something that people say, but that doesn’t make it OK.
If you spotted a female friend with her children in a supermarket, would you say that she was ‘babysitting’? Probably not.
The article asked the question ‘Is there really any reason to assume that mothers are more suited to take care of their children than fathers?’ Well, if various posts on social media are to be believed, the answer is yes.
Recently, there was a picture on my Facebook timeline with the heading ‘When dad looks after the children’.
It was preceded with photos of children running riot around the house, drawing all over the dog with felt tips and using the curtains as a climbing frame.
Yes, it’s funny, but it’s not the reality.
Some people might argue that carrying a baby inside your body for nine months gives the mother that special bond and maternal instinct.
It’s true that oxytocin, known as the ‘bonding hormone’, is released in large amounts during birth and breastfeeding.
However, the article states that fathers also experience a rise in oxytocin levels equal to mothers as a result of interacting with their infants.
There is a difference between mothers and fathers in the types of interaction that seem to produce these rises in the ‘bonding hormone’.
For mothers, it is baby talk, staring into the baby’s eyes and affectionate touching, but for the fathers it is playful touch and behaviour that produce a rise in oxytocin.
The article concluded that the argument that biological mothers have a greater bond than other parents is difficult to substantiate.
My daughters have an amazing bond with both me and their mum and this article has backed up my view that the greatest gift anyone, mother or father, can give to their children is... their time.
Beethoven fit for the Queen
Being a radio presenter, I’m often asked what my favourite type of music is and I find it an impossible question to answer.
There is so much amazing, mood-changing and euphoric music out there for every feeling and character in the universe.
I love the music I play on Heart, where you’ll find the songs to make you feel good. But I also might be found tuning into Smooth Radio if I want to relax to some great music, or Capital if I want to listen to the latest chart hits.
A radio station I’ve been listening to a lot lately is Classic FM, which is fast becoming my favourite station other than Heart. It seems I’m not the only one.
Just recently, I was listening to the station and they were playing a stunning piece by Beethoven.
My six-year-old daughter Caitlin told me she really liked that type of music. About a minute later, looking intrigued, she asked: ‘Is this what the royal family listens to?’ Taking a wild guess, I couldn’t give her any other answer than ‘Yes’.