Who is the Daddy now?

Happy fathers’ day to all the father’s out there. Hopefully your families made a fuss of you. I doubt you would have been subjected to the burnt toast that many mothers endured on Mothers Day back in March as no doubt the mothers would have been involved in rustling up whatever breakfast made its way to you in bed.

Believe me when I say I am not bitter (well maybe a little bit) that men get an easier ride when it comes to parenting. That is just the way society is set up at the moment but hopefully things are changing.

These days it is not unusual to find men taking paternity leave, changing nappies, doing the shopping and the school run. They still earn brownie points for doing these things and it is in no way taken for granted like it is with women. Not only do women do the above, they have to do it well or risk being judged by the rest of society whereas it is still considered laudable when a man does the same.

It is not a level playing field when it comes to childcare. Women are still seen as the primary carers full stop. In most cases men, can pick and choose how engaged or not they want to be with childcare. When they are engaged, it is truly a thing of beauty so I guess society can be forgiven for heaping on the adulation.

I am a Daddy’s girl and in fact my book ‘Octopus on Treadmill: Women, Health, Success, Happiness’ is dedicated to my father. He was a strong male influence in my life growing up and I felt quite lost when he passed away in my early twenties. I could have easily gone off the rails after losing such a stabilising force in my life but luckily, I delved into spirituality to assuage my pain and I haven’t looked back since. My home life now is full of male energy as my two boys and my husband ensure there is an over-abundance of testosterone.

There are all kinds of fathers and here is where I think I need to shine a light on the unsung heroes who play the role of both father and mother; Single mothers! I am not sure how many of them got a Father’s Day card but I hope they are patting themselves on the back for the dual role that they play for their children. I am not taking anything away from single father’s as they are also playing a dual role but I feel that society gives them their due acknowledgement whereas the women in the same position slip under the radar.

Being a single parent is a tough gig but being a single mother is imbued with a vulnerability that women must confront daily. Then there is the practical side of things:

• There is no pretending to be part of the duvet when you hear a noise in the middle of the night while you expect your partner to go and do the investigating. You just have to man up, uterus notwithstanding, and go and face said intruder or hide and call the Police.

• There is the small matter of tradesmen talking down to you because you just can’t possibly understand the technicalities of unblocking a sink.

• If you have boys, you somehow have to explain all the boys stuff that fathers normally explain to their sons. Where do you even find the words to break into the male psyche?

• Then there is the DIY, I know a lot of women are handy with power tools but I am not one of those and I refuse to change a light bulb if I have a choice.

• I am not leaving the most important to the last but for God’s sake, who is going to put the bins out???

Then there is the pity in people’s eyes when they realise that you are single parent. You don’t need their pity, what you need is recognition that you are contributing twice your share to maintaining a stable society. But, you can’t go around with a chip on your shoulder, so you pretend it is not pity you see and instead you get your head in the right space to deal with the smug couples.

So, this Father’s Day why don’t we all put our hands together for the army of single mothers who are playing the roles of fathers and doing their best under very tough and isolating circumstances to provide stability for their children.

Ladies, you truly are the Daddy, Happy Father’s Day.