Buckle in ladies and gentleman as this article may ruffle a few feathers. While we live in a society with much inequality, both in terms of wealth distribution and treatment of minorities you could argue that the playing field has never been as level as it is now. That’s not to say there isn’t work to be done, there is.
While there are many groups that are marginalised this article will focus on a group that many might feel don’t need protecting. Fathers. Yes, an article in defence of dads everywhere! Shock horror.
Perhaps this article may promote comments suggesting my white male privilege is showing. To be quite honest I feel privileged. I have two wonderful children who enrich my life and give it meaning that it lacked before. I am far more selfless than I ever was because I found something to live for that was more important than me. So why do I have a gripe? Because I’m a dad.
I want to start by saying that my two children have two fantastic mothers and they do a superb job of raising our kids. I have them every other weekend and it is always a highlight. The day I take them home I’m always at my lowest ebb. Like any half-decent dad I pay maintenance money and I don’t begrudge this. I wish I could afford more. That isn’t me singing my own praises I think if you make the decision to father a child that this is the bare minimum you can do. And the minute you commit to having sex, you are taking that risk. The commitment is implied.
I didn’t make the decision to leave my son’s mother and without any real conversation, it was expected that our son should stay with her. Which I guess makes sense as he has two half-siblings who also live in the family home. However is it really fair? Why does that have to be the case? Because of tradition?
Some may argue that a mother has a closer bond with their child because they carried them in their body. And I do know a lot of mothers who dote on their children. This isn’t an unfair comment. But to suggest that you can’t have an unbreakable bond with a child because you didn’t carry them flies in the face of pretty much every romantic relationship on the planet. Not only are there dads who are primary caregivers in modern society there are fathers who play an active part in the lives of their stepchildren. Stereotyping all men as emotionless is as bad as stereotyping all women as maternal.
Statistically, more than half of parenting agreements are settled without going to court and the vast majority of these include the women as the primary caregiver. I am sure there are some men out there where this arrangement suits them. There will be some that want more but just don’t feel like they could ever make it happen. There is still a perceived court bias against ruling in favour of the father. Why bother going through the courts if you know there’s a good chance there is nothing to gain from it?
Although statistics might not back this up, anecdotally it seems that more and more there are joint custody deals in place in the modern world. This can only be positive. We seem to be tiptoeing out of the patriarchy where men are the bread-winners and women raise the kids. Take a trip to your local soft play and you will see a decent amount of dads sat chatting with their buds while their kids “run riot”. This is the way it should be. Kids need their mum, but they need their dads as well.