There’s never been a better time in history to be a dad – we all know how much society has changed when it comes to parenting in the last 50 years – expectations of fathers have grown and men want to embrace the role of ‘dad’ like never before. But fathers often feel the pressure to conform to unhelpful stereotypes like the ‘fun dad’ or the ‘breadwinner dad’. It’s clear fatherhood needs a makeover. So, what does it mean to be a father today - what’s needed and what’s not?
To celebrate Fathers Day just gone, we hosted a special Fathers Day Webinar, with our new ‘Dad Time’ team and The Father Hood.
Luke Benedictus, Samuel Eddy and Paul Mischel discuss all things ‘dad’, from the varying pressures that come with being a modern father, to how the role and expectations of dads has changed over the past decades.
So is it the best time to be a dad? Our hosts think so – although being a dad still comes with its fair share of challenges, as always.
“The game has really changed for dads out there today,” says Luke. “As modern dads, we have an opportunity that perhaps the previous generation of fathers didn’t have. Dads today are more involved, and that’s a real opportunity but also a challenge, as we work out a way to navigate [being a father] and balance that with our work.”
“There are a bunch of statistics that show just how much fatherhood has changed in the past generation,” Luke continues. “There was a great study from a British university that shared that in 1982, 43 percent of British fathers had never changed a nappy. But by [the year] 2000, that had shrunk to just three percent. And that’s almost 20 years ago now, so it shows how profoundly things have changed in one generation.”
The constant juggle of thriving in a career whilst balancing home life is another issue familiar to most modern dads who want to be present for their children. But is this sought-after work/life ‘balance’ simply impossible?
“I don’t know what balance looks like,” Paul says. “I don’t think anyone knows what balance looks like. I think it depends on what stage and age your children are at – when I was at the stage with children running around the house, it was very different to my stage now, where I have a 20 year old who I can delegate some of the responsibilities to.
“It’s really about, how do I integrate the work that I do with the lifestyle that I want to lead, and with the type of parent that I want to be. And when we start to look at it [more like] how do I create a working life that integrates with our home life, then it is a much more useful discussion than ‘how do I find this balance? Because the ratios [of balance] will be different for different people.”
Luke believes that separating work and home can also be a challenge, and says it’s easy to accidentally mentally bring home work when you should be focusing on what’s happening at home.
“Something that I find useful is to develop a transition ritual,” he says. “This flicks your mindset from work mode to dad mode. It could be whatever works for you – listening to a podcast on your way home from work, or getting off the train a stop early and walking home.”
Listen to this fantastic, frank discussion in full below.
We are also excited to announce that we are partnering with Luke Benedictus from The Father Hood to bring you a brand new Father Hood podcast series – stay tuned for the first episode launched later this week.