Network Blogger: Free Choice

I struggle to write about this ‘role-reversal’ (hate the phrase, but you know what I mean) we have going on because it’s hard not to sound like I’m moaning, or showing off. Look, see how modern we are!
Look, see how I juggle so many things! And also I don’t think it’s that interesting much of the time. So many families these days don’t stick to the ‘traditional’ roles. But it is unusual, and occasionally that’s brought home to me.
I went to a 6th birthday party of one of Lois’s friends that was in half term, 4-6pm. Of the 30ish parents there, I was the only male, other than the birthday girl’s dad. At the weekends the balance is much more even. Sure, some of these mum’s are on maternity leave with younger siblings, and some perhaps work part time, so often it is just easier for the woman to go to such things. In those cases where both parents would normally have been at work though, I suspect the default is that the woman is more likely to take time off or have a shorter day. That’s more accepted. Reading too much into it? Maybe. I’ve got no hard evidence in that case, but even if that analysis is off the mark it doesn’t matter. I know of businesses out there who are very dubious of a man who wants more time with his family, or flexi-working arrangements. How can he possibly do his job properly?!
 
So what I wonder is how many couples would have a more balanced mix of work and childcare if it were accepted by more businesses? How many men out there don’t ask because they fear the response, or because it’s frowned upon by their employers? Employers who still see it as the woman’s role, even if they don’t say so out loud?
Ultimately how a couple spread the load should be down to them. A house-wife and working husband is not something to be avoided, and it’s not anti-feminist if that is what both want. Likewise a house-husband and working wife should not be held up as an end-point to aim for, if that isn’t what would work best for that family. What matters is free choice for each couple in question, and wouldn’t it be great if the opinion of an employer, or society for that matter, didn’t come in to it?
steve mayes

 

About Janine 560 Articles
I am an antenatal teacher, doula, baby massage instructor, postnatal educator, life coach, writer, mum, wife, friend and, sometimes, just me. As an experienced and qualified practitioner, I specialise in pregnancy, birth and early parenting - my aim is to listen, inform, support and reassure when needed. I have worked with parents since 2002 and I set up Birth, Baby & Family in 2011 to provide good information, a different perspective and links to the best products and services for families. I set up the Birth, Baby & Family Centre in 2014 to provide a welcoming, friendly and supportive space for parents across Tyneside.

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