Often when we talk about children and parenting, mothers are the main focus. But in recent years we are seeing a positive shift towards more focus on fathers, their contribution to parenting and the sacrifices they too make in order for their family to thrive.
Although I had my kids at what is considered a ‘normal’ age, my husband was, and still is considered to be a ‘young dad’ … yes, I’m older than he is!
My husband will tell you that he always wanted to be a ‘young’ dad, despite society’s messaging that life is a struggle once you have kids and your social life will be lost forever. He saw beyond this and wanted to experience life with his kids at an age when he was still energetic and young at heart (although I think he will be forever ‘young at heart!).
According to a new generational parenting report* conducted by leading baby care and toy specialist, Fisher-Price, as a nation, fathers are becoming parents younger than ever before, with an evident average age gap of 13 years (from 48 years old for Baby Boomers to 35 for Gen Y).
Interestingly, the report also found that fathers are seeking more ‘me time’ than ever before. When I read this, I immediately got my defences up! Haha, I’ll be having more ‘me time’ before my husband does, thank you!
But then on reflection, I realised that of course fathers need their own time to relax too, because like most Gen Y dads, my husband contributes a lot and I certainly forget to acknowledge this. He is absolutely a ‘fun’ dad, which, according to the research, 59% of Gen Y dads describe themselves as, and only 36% of dads from the Baby Boomers do!
So, just because some dads don’t prioritise the kitchen sink and the dirty washing above going to the park, doesn’t mean they aren’t giving their all to be the best father that they can be.
Even though Gen Y dads describe themselves as ‘Fun’, there is a clear correlation between increased levels of stress, finance concerns and parents’ needing for more ‘me’ time over the generations, with Gen Y feeling the biggest pinch. While this generation of dads have greatly appreciated more support and advice from resources such as their fathers and grandfathers, they’re seeking a little more balance to fulfil their ideal and ‘fun’ parenting style.
So this Father’s Day, maybe instead of another tie or a groovy pair of socks, let’s encourage the dads in our lives to take some time out for themselves. Whether it be going to the gym or catching up with their mates – because the evidence speaks for itself … Father’s need ‘me time’ too.
*Survey commissioned of 1,203 Australians conducted by Data2Decisions on behalf of Fisher-Price, 2- December 2017 – 12 January, 2018.