I have just finished listening to Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. I have avoided reading it because I thought it was more of a memoir but I am sorry now I didn’t add it to my list earlier. I found it fascinating, insightful and inspirational. When people have money their perceptions are often through money coloured glasses because their reality is different but I found Sandbergs tone and understanding of the realities of all income groups to be realistic and not really patronising.
One of the topics she talks about quite a lot is the role of fathers in the day to day child care. This prompted David and I to talk about the roles we have in our relationship and he was pretty open about the fact that when we got together he just assumed that all the kid related stuff would be my responsibility. It is, in fact, only in the last 18 months that this has actually changed.
As my business has grown, so has the demand on my time which has meant he has had to step in now and then to help out. Fortunately he has a job that allows him to easily and at a moments notice to step in. We have a pretty good tag team set up going now but it has taken time and a few arguments over whose commitment is more important, lots of compromise and a lot of pushing the boundaries from both sides.
My mom was solely responsible for my brother and I on a daily basis. I don’t think my father once fetched us from school. It was how they split the responsibilities but I am pretty sure most of you grew up in a similar scenario. I have always just taken responsibility for the kids because I am the mother, the women, the provider of care. Even when I was working full time, I organised who would fetch them etc. No one ever told me I had to do this, it was just assumed.
Times are changing though, our roles within our family dynamic are changing and I have had to ask David to be more involved and he has had to step in, which by his own admission hasn’t always been easy. He has always assumed the traditional role of a dad – going to work, maybe doing bath time, maybe picking up a kid here and there but never having to actually take responsibility for who is where and when.
I don’t know why things aren’t always done like this? We have an almost 50/50 split of household and kid responsibilities and it takes so much pressure off us both. He has developed a routine with the kids on the days he fetches them. I am less stressed about having to be everywhere all the time time and he is now an active part of all of their daily lives.
AND we both still manage to get our jobs done and done well.
Our kids are better off for it, we actually manage to spend more time with one another – it is a win win.
I am away for the next 24hrs at an event with Ford which means he is on kid duty. Kiara has a dance competition that starts today. I didn’t hesitate to accept the invite to the event. Not because I get to spend the night in a hotel but because I know that all 4 kids will be looked after.
Yes I will miss one of Kiara’s 5 dances but David will be there. Her amazing dance teachers will be there. Her fellow dancers who are incredibly supportive will be there. I know she will be amazing, with or without me there and I know she has no doubt I am proud of her. David also has to buy hair ties today and probably a few other things he hasn’t had to buy before but you know what? I am pretty sure he will figure it out, just like I had to.
I have absolutely no guilt in leaving the 5 of them tonight. These events are important to me and I think it is vital for our children to see we have lives outside of them. How will our daughters learn they can be more if we are not more?
The challenge today ladies is to get your partners more involved. It takes some planning and commitment from both sides but it can be done and it should be done!