The yummy daddy enthusiastically embraces every aspect of parenting hands on. In fact he’s a bit in your face with it. He doesn’t flinch when changing a pooey bum and walks around proud as punch with a baby strapped to his chest and a toddler clambering over his back. But is the yummy daddy a bit of a wimp? What does ‘old style man’ make of ‘new daddy’?
‘Old style man’ balks at the merest suggestion that he should cook, clean or change nappies. This is the man of my fathers generation, in his favour he was solid, dependable and strong. He was respected and could be relied upon. His breed is not entirely extinct, it is just dormant; it is difficult for for any man today to admit in public that they didn’t actively enjoy witnessing the birth of their children. Let’s face it childbirth can be a gory experience, ‘honest man’ admits that he hasn’t been able to look at ‘her indoors’ in the same way since.
For any man to admit that he didn’t strip down to his bare chest to bond with the fruit of his loins the minute it was born, would be shameful today. The “new daddy” is fascinated in every aspect of his wives pregnancy. So much so he wears an empathy pouch…
And he crouches on all fours and allows his wife to use him as a table to lean on during labour. He feels every contraction and pants in unison with his beloved. As soon as junior is home from hospital he straps the little rugrat to his belly and proudly trots off to the nearest toddler group to show it off. If he could he would breastfeed,
Instead he makes do with massaging his partners feet with peppermint oil, cooks wonderful hearty rustic meals a la Jamie Oliver and cleans the house until it sparkles. It won’t be long before ‘new daddy’ will be able to have a womb implanted in his middle age spread so that he, too can experience all the joys of pregnancy.
Old style man on the other hand feels awkward. He poses for the obligatory pic with his offspring but he isn’t comfortable holding the baby. He worries he is going to drop the thing. He hurriedly hands it back to the nearest female relative if it poops. He is secretly itching to get back to work, never mind this new fangled paternity thing. He loves his wife and the new rugrat, don’t get me wrong; he would do anything for them, but he equates love with providing and ensuring that his family have a secure and happy future in which they don’t have to worry about the bills being paid and much more besides.
Old man is dying out, new man replaces him. This is all media driven change, something that is discussed ad nauseum but is it what women really want? And, more importantly is it better for our children? My father was old style man, he came from a deprived background, witnessed his own father in tears unable to pay the bills, he felt contempt and deep unhappiness at the situation. It drove him to succeed and do well in life. I was so very proud of him, he was dependable and strong and provided us with absolute financial security and more. As a role model I learnt so much from him, however I did sacrifice time with him as his family took a back seat in his career. I used to miss him terribly because he wasn’t there; he was always working. He died relatively young and I believe that the stress of his high powered job took a toll on his health.
In contrast, my husband has chosen a career path that allows him much more time with our children and whilst our children are very young I am home with them full time. Our standard of living may not be the same as I was used to when I was growing up however I feel that for our children to have their dad around so much makes it all worthwhile but I won’t pretend that it has its own stresses.
So I would conclude by saying that a balance needs to be achieved ensuring that children have plenty of time with both parents, but that they also have financial security and a good life. But is this just an unachievable dream? How do you try to ensure that your children have plenty of time with both parents? Do you both work part time and share childcare and domestic tasks? Or is this just not financially viable given the pay gap between men and women? Does your man think he is a new man and does it slightly annoy you? Does he try and muscle in on your territory, even thinking that he should be able to make decisions about decorating now?!! Do you get irritated with him underfoot and secretly wish that he would just go out and earn some decent dosh? Or do you love having your new man around and simply couldn’t manage with the kids without all his practical support?
Please comment and let me know how it works in your house! I would love to hear some views on this …
This article is dedicated to my wonderful dad who I lost too soon and whom has never left my side since…