The Baby Club Effect
Working on The Baby Club has really reintroduced me to the world of parenting a baby or toddler. And not living it this time around, has enabled me to look at it from the outside. Something that is very hard to do while being overwhelmed by tiredness, learning new things, supporting your partner, and trying to survive. This time I get to observe how mums, dads, grandparents and carers go through this beautiful yet testing time. And more importantly I can see where people could do with a little support. (This is where The Dadvengers Initiative comes in, more on this in a minute). As those of you who’ve been through/are going through it know, there are no definitive rights or wrongs. Just the path you choose to navigate because it feels right for you.
More support needed
One area where I feel we could do with more support is that of the hands-on dad. More and more dads are making the effort to be involved with their kids from birth and we all need to help encourage this even more. It’s true that in an ideal world we would not need to do this. All dads would embrace their part in raising happy healthy children. But the reality here in the UK is that dads have become better but there is still some way to go.
According to an article in 2017, back in 1965 men spent an average of 16 mins a day with their children. Cut to 2012 and that figure had risen to 59 mins a day and was still climbing. It’s not quite the 104 mins per day that mums clocked up (Well done team), but it’s definitely movement in the right direction. And looking at the stats worldwide we are one of the top 2 countries in terms of improvement. (For more on these stats check out the original article.)
The one thing I’m hearing directly from dads is that the early years landscape is not geared towards them. There are plenty of mother and baby groups, mummy blogs, mother and baby changing facilities but the dads are being overlooked. It’s not done deliberately but if we want dads to feel more comfortable being dads we need to help them. So this is me doing my little bit to help the cause.
Support Will Also Aid Mental Health
On top of the obvious benefits to family life and child development, support for dads will also aid men’s mental health. Historically men have not been the most receptive when it comes to dealing with their mental health. The fact that suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50, and that in the UK roughly 75 men a week (many of these fathers) take their own lives, is a big indicator to me that we need to do more to support dads*. Which is why mental health support is a core pillar of the Dadvengers Initiative.
*Statistics taken from – A letter to a Dad Contemplating Suicide
The Dadvengers Initiative
While working on Nigel’s Baby Club Diaries I had an idea to create an online community, forum and resource to help the dads out there. To give them a place to get advice, voice their questions and concerns and hear stories from other dads. Mums have loads of online resources to chose from, whereas there is far less for fathers. Which is the whole reason for this initiative.
Dads, just like mums come in all forms, young, older, black, white, gay, straight, and more. The one thing that unites us all, is that none of us has a clue what we’re doing when we first start parenting. But hopefully here amongst these posts, on our Live Dad Chats on Instagram, through our podcast and more, we can all help each other to feel more comfortable. We can navigate the challenges that arise, and ultimately take responsibility for our children’s development. Basically, we’re forming a team… The Dadvengers!
Mums we need you too!
Mums you will be an integral part of getting dads involved. Believe it or not they listen to you, even if they pretend not to. Making them aware of this site and the topics we cover will be largely up to you in the early stages. Also providing your encouragement and support to dads here will help them know what they are doing is valued. So you see you are Dadvengers too.
Thoughts on the Dadvengers Initiative? Questions? Topics?
So what are your thoughts on The Dadvengers Initiative? What questions or suggestions do you have? What topics would you like to see covered? Are you a hands on dad? Are you trying to encourage a dad to be more hands on?
At some point I would like this to become a podcast with dads talking about their fatherhood experiences. But for now let’s start off easy, get the conversation going and the thoughts and feelings flowing.
Please leave your comments in the section below and share this post with other parents, the more the merrier. And remember, mums you are an integral part of this. We can’t effect change in dads without you so please please please help if it’s just sharing a post or making a suggestion.
Now it’s over to you…