Things people don’t tend to say to working fathers:
- Does your wife/partner mind you working?
- Who looks after your children when you’re at work?
- Does your wife/partner help you with the housework?
- Is it worth you working given how much you are paying for childcare?
- It must be really hard having your children looked after by other people.
Things people don’t tend to say to working mothers:
- To whom should I address correspondence concerning your child’s preschool/nursery/school matters?
- Do you look after the children to give your husband/partner a break sometimes?
- I know you love your children so much it hurts, but I understand totally that your work drives you and makes you a whole person. There’s no shame in that so stop beating yourself up about it.
My point? Redressing gender imbalance in our society starts with attitudes.
My long suffering husband is an amazing father who easily does more than half of the childcare on days when our girls are at home, does more than his fair share of the housework, as well as car and house maintenance and gardening, and holds down a full time job into the bargain. Does he get credit for it from society? No, he doesn’t.
We are both responsible for our children – we made them 50:50 after all – and we are both responsible for the effective functioning of our household.
So let society give us a break, me for working my guts out to build my business, and him for carrying on quietly, looking out for our girls and being there for me without the wider recognition he deserves.
That is all.