Thursday, May 24, 2007

Daddy & Baby Groups - here we come!

Great news that the government is proposing for fathers to be able to take six months paternity leave. According to the Out-Law newsfeed, the proposed changes won't come in until at least 2009, when it is planned for women to be allowed 12 months paid leave. However, if the proposals turn into reality it will mean that either parent can choose to take the latter 6 months as paid leave, giving the opportunity for mothers to return to work earlier.

(copyright of the image belongs to EOC)

Judging by a whole range of facts & figures from the Equal Opportunities Commission many working dads suffer from long working hours and insufficient flexibility to enable them to spend as much time as they would like with their families. Some will probably be happy to stay behind the desk until children are in bed. However for the majority, they will at least be in with the chance to enjoy more flexibility at least while the children are very young.

So does that mean that entrepreneurs in the mother and toddler sector should start planning baby activities for dads, like Baby Golf? Doubt if it would work, but you never know!


david said...

When marrying a career-minded solicitor, I accepted that I would be the one to rear any offsprings. Three turned up in just under 5 years so parenting skills were needed in order to cope.

I joined the mother & toddler group in Debenham which was renamed the parent & toddler group in my honour. The other difference was my age - I was 42 when I first became a father - but none of the young mums seemed to mind (or even notice).

Obviously I didn't spoil things by talking about cricket or football or other manly pursuits but, instead, exchanged tips and information about child development.

The main benefit was that Richard, and later Michael, got to play with other toddlers for a couple of hours a week.

Later on, I joined the babysitting circle where tokens were exchanged in return for looking after young children of various ages. Again, I was the only male and at first thought that I wouldn't be asked, given the widespread belief that most men are perverts.

The opposite turned out to be true. Several children were intrigued by the fact that a bearded, middle-aged man was minding them for the evening while their youthful parents went out on the razzle. I soon had a surplus of tokens and was turning down pleas for help.

There was less need for this sort of intervention as our three grew up and formed themselves into a gang. I was then able to 'revert to type' although doing the household chores remained my responsibility.

Every man would benefit from learning these useful life skills and for those who prefer the golf course to the ironing board, a period spent catering to the needs of babies and toddlers might help them cope with the frustrations associated with yet another tee shot going straight into a bunker.

21st Century Mummy said...

Hi David, I think you're quite right and it would be great to see more men taking the opportunity of the extended paternity leave when it becomes available.

There have been a few men already at the parent & toddler groups that I have frequented over the years. It's interesting to see the mums' reactions. They either flock around them or avoid them like the plague.