A FEW years ago I took a photo of my husband at Taronga Zoo — he had our 3-year-old daughter strapped on his back in a sling while he held our baby son in his arms.
My daughter didn’t want to walk and we unfortunately didn’t have her stroller with us so she ended up in the sling instead. For most of that hot, sunny day my husband carried our children around like this.
This was just a moment in time — an example of many examples of how my husband has multi-tasked while being a father. It was no big deal. Another moment in the many moments of how he has been a good dad. Or maybe, just a dad.
Two years ago Doyin Richards also captured a moment where he was multi-tasking while being a father — he was trying to calm his young baby, while getting his daughter ready for preschool.
In his case he put the photo up on social media and everything blew up. He ended up on a number of American TV talk shows for just capturing what should have been a fairly ordinary moment in time.
As Doyin Richards now points out “Men expecting props for handling rudimentary child-rearing tasks are no different than men expecting props for staying out of jail. Because as Chris Rock once said, we’re supposed to stay out jail, and we’re supposed to take care of our kids.”
Would we celebrate a mother combing her daughter’s hair while carrying her baby in a sling? No, of course not. That’s what mums are supposed to do. Dads on the other hand get a lot of slack. Just by performing basic perfunctory tasks they are seen as being good fathers. How many times have you heard a father say he’s “babysitting” his own kids, when he is looking after them? Surely now in 2016 we should at least be calling a man looking after his own kids “parenting”.
The tide does slowly seem to be turning. A number of famous male celebrities are putting fatherhood at the top of their list of priorities. Prince William recently came out talking about how fatherhood has given him a new perspective on life.