It’s Father’s Day - but dads no longer have to bring home the bacon

Chris McGuire says the view of fathers there to simply bring home the pay cheque has changed dramati

Chris McGuire says the view of fathers there to simply bring home the pay cheque has changed dramatically - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

What defines a modern dad? Chris McGuire, who takes the lead in looking after his children, says dads no longer need to be the big bread winners in the family

Sometimes a change is so great that we don't notice it at all.

That's not entirely true.

What I mean is things can shift so much that we cushion ourselves from the difference by a healthy bit of denial.

It's time to face, and embrace, some facts.

As Father's Day swings into view once more, it's essential we recognise that our families have changed. The roles taken by parents are no longer defined by the accident of gender. When it comes to childcare, mums and dads occupy almost identical spaces and its time our culture's narratives caught up.

I'm a stay at home father. I'm part of an ever-growing group of men taking a 'hands on' role in raising our children. We are a very necessary part of the workforce - especially in a culture that claims to want gender parity for anyone climbing the career ladder.

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Essentially, dads looking after children are a necessary by-product of mums taking their rightful place in the workplace.

What's my point?

As Father's Day arrives, too many of us are worrying about the superficial: "What can I buy for the man who has everything?" Let's face it, it's usually socks. Such clutter is placed in 'that' drawer with a multitude of similar gifts from down the years.

Instead of token items for dad, wouldn't it be great if this year we could talk more openly about the role of fathers within our society?

The day of the distant dad has passed - so let's celebrate the 21st century father.

This year for Father's Day, I want to get through a week without someone asking if I'm 'Babysitting' my kids.

Fathers do not baby sit - we parent.

This year for Father's Day I want to get through a week without someone asking if I change nappies.

OF COURSE I change nappies. There is nothing emasculating about dealing with the ablutions of your own children.

This year, for Father's Day, I want to get through a week without being told I'm 'Brave' for taking on such a 'feminine' role.

There is nothing inherently 'brave' about looking after your own children. The commemorations of the last weeks have shown what bravery truly looks like.

This year, for Father's Day, can we please catch up? Let's normalise fathers in a 'hands on' parenting role? The days of the pipe, slippers and occasional pat on our offspring's head are far behind us.

If we remove the stigma around being a stay at home dad (or work-sharing parent) concepts like shared parental leave will flourish. We need inspirational success stories of men who took time out to raise their kids, then returned to the workplace and thrived. It's possible but it needs to become normal.

For there to be true parity, childcare can't remain a 'problem' for mothers to deal with - women who must accept the affect it has on their careers as a 'fact of life'.

This Father's Day, let's start telling ourselves a different story. A story of mums and dads equally committed to raising their children. A tale of 21st Century realities. The narrative of dad 'bringing home the bacon', is no longer relevant and completely unhelpful.

Let's ditch it.

*NB: Don't worry, I'll smile and say 'Thank you' when I receive my Father's Day socks.

Chris McGuire is a writer and stay at home dad. Check out Chris's blog which examines the ups and downs of life as a dad in changing world. Don't worry, it's funny. Find him on Twitter @Outofdepth_dad