A great number of things have changed for me personally since becoming a dad; I’ve certainly felt more responsible, more thoughtful of the world around me, but there’s been one thing that’s been a bug bear that I think needs to change…
Depictions of dad in the media over recent decades have shaped a picture of dad as a very one dimensional parent – he’s the funny one, the joker, the clown. The one who tries to make light of serious issues, and at worst, the bumbling buffoon.
But as modern day dads increasingly have a more active role, either as a Stay-At-Home dad or actively looking to work flexibly, we need to re-examine the many layers of dad.
The Primary Carer
More and more dads are becoming the primary carer. According to the Office of National Statistics, in 2015 there were 229,000 stay at home dads – double what it was a decade ago. As more mums are re-entering the workplace and breaking down barriers (and rightly so!), the opportunities for dad to stay at home have increased. And it’s not dads doing it just because of the money – the recent study in America shows how for the first time those dads staying home ‘not looking for employment’ has now overtaken those who are stay at home while ‘actively looking.’
It’s fair to say the number of stay at home mums still vastly outnumber those of dad, but the speed to which more dads are becoming the primary carer puts the shift in perspective.
The active player
Dads are getting involved in all sorts of areas of life, and active play is amongst the most vital. In the age where increasingly screen time is taking over physical play time, more and more dads are taking up the mantle of getting their children exploring the world in weird and wonderful ways. This Play Daddy mode is a mindset as much as it is an action, and one that dads should continue to do more of.
Technology can offer many a fine thing to our children, but it all needs some balance and perspective. Through more active play, dad’s continue to be another teacher of the world of our children in altogether more involved way. With news we see on social media increasingly siloed, it’s vital that dads have an active role in providing a greater sense of balance to the views our children grow up in.
And still the joker – there’s always time for humour
While it’s important that dads aren’t cast as JUST the funny one, it’s important that we don’t loose the humour altogether!
Dad Jokes are amongst my own personal favourite thing to do – the more awkward and terrible, the better as far as I’m concerned.
While I don’t think I’m quite at the level for a dad-joke battle, in this ever more changing world, dad’s got to keep things in perspective, and there’s nothing quite like a joke to break the tension in any given scenario. I don’t mind admitting that even at work, I’ve crafted quite a reputation for my awful dad-jokes already!
Dad jokes are part of our armoury, but there’s so many more layers of us dads now – that we can use daily.
It’s my great hope that more of society can see dads for what they really are – a far more multidimensional parent.
Written by Han-Son, founder of daddilife.com