In this household babies came prior to wedlock, mum is as fatherly as dad is, and dad is as motherly as mum is. Our duties as parents cross over. Intentionally, as we lead by example, there is no role division, no line between what dad does and mum does.
I'd like my children to grow up knowing that men and women are capable of the same things, as opposed to limited by their genders.
Society bombards us with messages of father's financial obligations of supporting the family and mothers's devoir's to childcare and household related matters. Messages that clearly diferentiate between the roles of the mother and the father, discouraging amalgamation of the two. Messages that create barriers for us all.
Many men would seldomly admit their wish to spend less time at work, and more time with their children. This comes as no great surprise given the ridicule they often face.
We refer to a father's involvement in a child's rearing as "babysitting" and "helping". Would we dream of defining a mother's time with her child this same way?
The words we use to describe a dad's input are demeaning and dispiriting. In my own professional encounters, I am often faced with father's who are quite simply not given a chance to parent given their partner's beliefs and anxieties, of their inadequacies to parent.
From a woman's experience, delving into the working world and leaving the home isn't met with any more or less disaproval than it is for a dad to parent.
In this day and age, I am often met with questions from prying eyes such as "Aren't you missing your children?", "Aren't you worried about them?" And the winner "So will you be going home to cook for the family now?"
This last question ocurred in a professional training event. A pastor attending was bewildered by the fact that I would be at work whilst my husband looked after our children. He appeared genuinely concerned for my kids wellbeing, questioning my decisions critically.
As a trainee Psychologist, such attitudes immediately told me more of his confidence in his own parenting than of a concern for my husband's capacities.
Later that day I came to learn that he had, in the past, been a "successful" career driven family man. He had come to attempt suicide, and in time left his profession.
He had thus succeeded fulfilling the role society dictates, achieving financial and professional stability for the family, but at what cost?
Suicide is actually the BIGGEST cause of death for men under 45, and I wonder-what percentage of this statistic is caused in part by the insurmountable pressures of gender inequality, forcing us to live lives we cannot adapt to?
Sexual equality is not an invention of our time; despite omission, early women actually played a role in hunting and gathering groups.
We often say it is a man's world out there, but in all actual honesty, I believe until we return to our egalitarian past we are all losers in this game.
Whilst we, as women, create feminist movements for reforms on issues such as equal pay and reproductive rights, I see men hushedly alienated from their children with no regards for the impact this has both on them and the offspring.
And so I suspect men to be worse off, given that we have deemed it unacceptable for them to speak out and they, unlike us, are compliant.
For more on this topic, look out for our next article.