This is the slogan of a campaign to encourage fathers to be more involved with their children, post divorce. I say, fathers need as much encouragement in honing their paternal instincts in situ.
Let’s swallow a bitter pill: many fathers don’t give a fig about parenting mostly because mothers do. Ask any long suffering wife, how effective her husband’s parenting skills and you’ll receive some hollow replies.
Men and their offspring are not happy bunnies. When the little tykes are soft, cuddly new borns, Daddy is proud but it’s mostly from an egotistic stance: “I’m fertile, yay!” Children are an endorsement of a man’s virility so whilst strutting around, Daddy forgets that one of his roles is to support Mummy.
Parenting is the problem for men. Their bodies are cut out for it but not their brains. Parenting is a coat of many colours; you’re called to be a hero, a dictator, a philosopher, a sensitive soul, an adjudicator and clown! What you are not called on to be is a loser, a moaner, a miser or permanent joker!
Sad to say, fathers (like mothers) tend to be a mixed bag. You don’t receive any training and it’s on the job learning. Let’s be honest, some men are just not cut out for hard work and parenting is work…of the toughest kind.
Who’d want to be a parent if we knew all that it entailed? Sleepless nights, tantrums, setting examples – it’s a teaching and learning experience like no other. Can a man be equipped for such hardship? Not very often. Men are not characteristically emotional beings though there are improvements in every generation. Good fathering equates to the kind of fathering you yourself were on the receiving end of.
How many people can truly say that their father was a shining example? Very few is my guess. Fathers, like mothers, are human. Human beings are fallible. No one knows what kind of parent they’ll be until they embark upon parenthood. Some are enthusiastic about their parental journey like an explorer about to launch into unchartered territory. Some are bemused about bringing up another little person and wonder how on earth they’ll ever get the hang of it. Some are downright scared and remember all the trouble they themselves got into.
Fathers are a work in progress and every mother knows it. Mothering is mostly instinctive and carrying a child throughout pregnancy alters a woman’s mind and body irrevocably. Despite all the issues a woman faces, there is an unbreakable bond between a mother and her child. That doesn’t mean that life post pregnancy is wonderful but a woman showers unconditional love upon her offspring as she gazes at him/her adoringly.
This makes it all the more disturbing that lobby groups such as “Fathers 4 Justice” are trying to win custody and greater access to their children post separation and divorce. There is many a father who would lash out at a former partner by attempting to cast aspersions on their good character. Testosterone fuelled mud slinging is rife in the judicial system and it is tolerated to allow a father to assert his parental rights. When has being a good father included besmirching the character of his childrens’ mother?
It is nonsense to suggest that a father can do the job of caring for children as well as any woman. Any child, who loses his mother (for whatever reason) during the formative years, feels that loss acutely. The loss of a father can also be distressing but a strong woman can play both roles effectively. Fathers cannot justify their roles by putting women down. Worse still are those fathers who abduct their children. Depriving a child of its mother and vice versa is an act of sheer spite and revenge. Men who resort to these methods to “punish” their ex-wifes/partners are the lowest kind.
A woman’s touch in the home is important and it’s not about choosing the right furnishings. If the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world then, when that hand is missing, a child’s world can fall apart. A woman, be it a mother or female relative, is pivotal for the healthy development of a child.
Families don’t need fathers as much as they need supportive men. Biology isn’t important in a support role. A good man is worth ten fathers. You’ll appreciate this fact once you’ve had a bad father.
Fathers need to go back to the drawing board and learn parent craft. There’s too little information on this important subject and, if there’s one thing more fathers need, is a little educating!
Families need fathers? They shoot horses don’t they? There'll never be parental equality until fathers man up and get serious about what it takes to be a worthy role model.