Dads should be proud to go to baby clubs, change nappies and ‘babysit’

Parents and children will be returning to school next week.

Parenting roles have got more balanced, writes Sophie Wyllie - Credit: PA

Over the past few years parenting roles have become a lot more balanced.

I am aware there are always exceptions but thank goodness the days are gone when mums were the only ones who changed a baby’s nappy – the majority of dads are now happy to get elbow deep in poop and wet wipes.

But despite the positive changes there are still some unfortunate hangovers from the decades gone by that need to stop now.

Dads don’t babysit.

When I go on a rare night out without the other half people constantly ask if he is “babysitting”.

I always answer with: “No – he is being a parent. When I get back I shall not be slipping him a tenner and asking if he ate the pasta I’d left in the fridge.”  

It is frustrating that some people naturally presume that the main child rearing role should go to women – most men want to do it and are (reasonably … I jest) capable.

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There are obvious things they cannot do in the beginning but there is plenty they can do.

I know I am very lucky to have such a supportive husband – he walked for miles with our two little ones and did numerous car journeys in all hours to get them to sleep when they were very young.

He is heavily involved with the night-time routine and can hands down build a better train track than me. Choo, choo.

And after I had back surgery after the birth of my youngest he took over the night-time feeding routine.

His work schedule also means he has a day a week with our son and daughter meaning he can do the school and nursery run as well as taking them to groups.

Although he is quite often the only father at groups – don’t point and whisper mums, he is harmless.  

With more companies offering shared parental leave and the lockdown showing how beneficial flexible working arrangements for everyone, let’s hope change continues to happen, particularly around the language of parenting.