Around 2 million years ago, a caveman decided that he should leave the family to hunt, gather, and provide shelter, meanwhile the cavewoman stayed home to cook and take care of the children. Today, mothers and fathers often both work, do the chores and take care of the children – but are we still trapped in the past?
I, for one, have experienced the belittling of the role of the father to second class caregivers. But we have a perfect functional fatherly instinct and, trust me, it works. It’s time to change the way we perceive the role of the father in our society, let’s start by avoiding saying the following things us Maltese dads are tired of hearing.
1. “I think she needs her mummy.”
If a child is crying in public while her dad is comforting her, don’t approach him and say, “I think she needs her mummy”. That’s a KO to a dad, it’s like hitting us with a shovel. She is my child, I know her more than you, and mummy clearly trusted her with me so buzz off.
2. “The nappy changer is in the ladies’ toilets.”
After taking my daughter out for an adventure, we stop at a restaurant for a bite to eat. She then proceeds to make a nice pumpkin puree in her nappy. I ask the waitress to point me in the direction of a nappy changer, only for her to tell me it’s in the ladies’ bathroom. Kapoww!
3. “How do you feel about having girls and not boys?”
We were blessed with two amazing daughters, and when I tell people they often ask how I feel about not having a boy. Come on guys, if you think that Maltese dads nowadays will not wear a pink tutu and have tea-time with Mr Bunny Fufu, you’re wrong. We all want a daddy’s girl (well, at least until they become teenagers, and then we’re the last person they want to hang around with, hehe).
4. “YOU did this? Omg, well done!”
When your husband or partner has fed, washed and gotten the children ready for bed, upon your return home avoid dramatic proclamations like “OMG, you did this?” No, it was the enchanted elves from Northumbria. It’s nice to receive a compliment, but sometimes making too much of a fuss can have the opposite effect.
5. “Remember, nappies cannot be returned.”
If you see a dad minding his own business in the nappy aisle of a supermarket, don’t stare at him before asking if he’s sure that’s the correct size, or how old his child is, or tell him that nappy sizes depend on the child’s weight. And if he tells you that he’s got it all under control, definitely don’t reply with, “Remember, nappies cannot be returned.”
6. “It’s like I have three kids.”
As a mother, you will tend to have had more time to perfect certain tasks, such as how to flawlessly make up a bottle. As dads, we might take a bit longer to get it right, but with your support, we’ll get there. As annoying as we can be, saying things like “How many times do I need to tell you? It’s like I have three kids” can be hurtful, and it can put us off even trying altogether.
7. “Why are you so interested in parenting?”
“You’re writing a parenting blog? Isn’t that a mother’s hobby? Why don’t you start a football blog or write about how to change a tire instead of a nappy? Lol.”
…I have no words.
I know we are not perfect, and our instinct might need a bit of support before it fully kicks in, but don’t patronise us or make us feel bad, instead empower us! And, to all those curtain twitchers in the parks and supermarkets, it’s time to stop making assumptions. The world is changing and the quicker we grow with it, the better us dads will become at hands-on parenting.
I’m David, the creator of The Maltese Daddy blog. I started my blog to help dads or soon to be dads, but also to end this taboo of Maltese dads being hands-on in the early years of a child’s development. I write about the good, the bad, the obstacles and other rewarding milestones of being a father. Visit me at The Maltese Daddy to find out more!