On Sunday 21st February, we were asked to contribute in a feature for the Sunday Telegraph’s Stella Magazine called, ‘Being brought up by a single dad was nothing like people expect‘
It’s a fantastic piece in which Zeena Moolla explores what it was like to be raised by just her father, along with some of the stereotypes she faced as a consequence.
We’re all so used to the idea that women just are the nurturing parents and the carers of the house, despite the fact that this stereotype is archaic and outdated.
Zeena found people couldn’t quite get their head around the fact that she was being raised as a man and the limitations they thought this would present to her life…
“…We lost count of the number of people who inferred that as a man, he couldn’t be as caring as a woman. ‘Do they not miss having a mother around?’ was the impertinent question often posed to him. It drove me inwardly mad. It felt as if my dad was being undermined.”
Although family dynamics are definitely changing, I was asked to comment on how I feel men are perceived when they take a nurturing approach to parenting…
“Blogger Dan Betts, founder of thebreakingdad.co.uk, says that after he and his partner separated in 2019, and started sharing custody of their daughter Evie, now four, he was struck by the reactions of strangers. ‘People are often very surprised by how dedicated I am to Evie,’ he says. ‘It tells me there’s a very clear perception that men can’t be “maternal”. [But] as men, we’re just as capable of being nurturing parents.’
His time as a single father has, he says, taught him that there is no such thing as ‘mum jobs’ and ‘dad jobs’. ‘Being responsible for everything to do with Evie’s care, 100 per cent of the time she’s with me, has helped me to appreciate the difficult balancing act many mums face every day. And it’s not about being perceived as “good for a dad”; it’s about stepping up and being there for your child, because that’s what a parent should do.’”
I was so proud to be able to contribute to such a progressive article; it’s so important to challenge the way we view fathers in the UK.
Society is changing and the stereotypical, ‘Dad who sits on the sofa with a beer and watches sports, whilst the mum does everything else’ just doesn’t fly anymore.
At least, not in my book.
Just as in the workplace, we’re challenging long-standing and historic unfairness when it comes to the gender gap, we need to be confident to do the same at home too.
We were so grateful to be involved in this article and, perhaps one day, Evie will read it and know that I did everything I could to be the best father I could be.