Welcome to the flip side – or at least my efforts to try and bring a different perspective to parenting. That father’s can be just as good at being a parent as some mother’s and for most aspects of looking after children we should be talking about being a ‘parent’, rather than ‘mother’. I must admit I get a little irritated by the number of almost sexist social media memes that suggest ‘only’ the mother is good at/does this that or the other. Or the plethora of blog posts that almost always talk about the mother, her role, the father almost being secondary in bringing up children, or even suggesting that father’s active in bringing up their children are “baby sitting” or not just not as good it [Maschka 2012, Toalson 2016, Patir 2015]. I guess that comes from the vast proportion of families where the mother is the one that looks after the children, but for somebody who’s the primary carer for the children, but the father – that kinda sucks. In one area of life anyway the views on sexual equality seem to be reversed. You hear a lot about equality in the job market, but the same attitude appears to be pervasive by females about males and parenting. Or at least that’s my perception of what is being perpetuated by social media. Okay I’ll happily accept that some males are or would be poor parents, but then so can some females.
I’ve also chosen to be the main/primary carer of our two boys as well as try to hold down two part time jobs, as a Learning Technology Fellow with the UCL Institute of Education, based at the UCL Knowledge Lab and I am also a self-employed professional photographer, “Kit Logan Photography“. It’s my partner who works full time, so in many ways there is a role reversal in our family, but a lot of the family duties are shared. However, as you can imagine, on top of generally managing the family (and being the cook) my life is a little full. Consequently I’m not sure how many Flip Side blog posts I’m likely to be writing as like most parents it’s finding the time.
There are some areas I don’t feel I can talk about. That special bond most mother’s have with their child after carrying it around all those months is one of them. My real bonding started with my childrens’ birth, watching their arrival and the first hugs. I can’t also talk about breast feeding from a mother’s point of view. There’s something very intrinsic about that very physical connection I’m given to believe and I get glimpses of that connection when holding either of my children. However, the breast feeding is something quite different. Our two were almost exclusively breast fed and I must admit that I felt somewhat at a loss as it was part of my children’s childcare I could do until they started bottle feeding from near the end of my partner’s maternity leave. This was out of necessity as I was the one staying home.
I should also say now I in no way regard myself a perfect parent. Hopefully, being aware I’m not and where I could improve is a good step towards being able to do something about it. However, I don’t follow any books/manuels or follow any childhood/parenting guru’s. One reason is that I know ‘one size’ does not fit all’. I do have certain advantages though. I have a background in psychology and since my teens I’ve been involved with voluntary or paid youth work (hence this website funandgames.org). Still doesn’t make me a good father though. Looking after children temporarily where you can go home, relax get some decent sleep (or not, but then it’s your choice not to :-)) compared to looking after them full time (where sleep deprivation is a major factor) it is a whole different ball game! Not to mention the sometimes subtle ways children behave differently with other adults compared to their parents, but that’s for another blog post :-).