Gender Equality has been an issue as far back as there has been…um, well…gender…(I imagine?). And no topic of gender equality has been more current than the topic of Stay-at-home-dads. Enter The 100% Project. A group of inspiring people with a vision to see 100% of Australia’s leadership talent, female and male, equally contributing to our social and economic future.
This month, I have been fortunate enough to contribute an article to The 100% Project’s quarterly publication, Beyond The Spin, where I was invited along with a series of other male writers, to contribute their ideas and observations on the topics of leadership, parenthood and gender roles.
The following article is my contribution to The 100% Project’s June publication of Beyond The Spin…
A few weeks ago, I was invited to participate in some market research on “What parents are feeding their babies.” I guess just to make sure the answer is food and not something bizarre like potted plants or bicycle parts. One of the Mum’s in our Mother’s Group was holding it at her place and we all had to confirm our attendance. A couple hours of our time, answer a few questions and pocket a little cash. No big deal…
Or so I thought…
That queasy feeling you get in your gut when you sense something is not quite right (impending doom, earthquakes or anything with Tori Spelling in it), first reared its worrisome head when I was told to expect a phone call from the Market Researchers beforehand to go over a few questions…and no such call happened. For me at least, but for everyone else who’d confirmed their attendance, they’d all been contacted within a day or two.
Almost a week later (and the day before the market research was happening), I finally got the call. “We’ve been talking about you all week,” they told me. Wow, what an opening statement, they sure know how to make you feel popular. “Sorry we took this long to get back to you, but we’ve been going back and forward between us and the client all week on whether or not you could attend.” — What the?
Hmm, what possible reason could it be? My level of high intellect? My elevated age demographic? My outstanding driving record? Incredibly good looks? No…the reason I’d thrown them such a curve ball, made them break into a sweat and caused such a week long ker-fuffle at HQ was simply this…
I’m a Dad.
Oh yeah, no you di’n’t?…I’m afraid they did. Even though the market research is about what parents are feeding their kids, their angle specifically is, “What new Mum’s are feeding their kids?” And here I was thinking what’s important here is what we’re feeding our kids, not who’s feeding them. Silly me. I felt like I’d just been OB-1’d from Star Wars, “these are not the droids you’re looking for…”
Being a HomeDad (my preferred title), and primary carer of our son, I clearly have no qualifications, input, or any idea about feeding a child. In fact, when I’m at home with my son and he’s hungry, all I can do is shrug my shoulders and skulk back into the corner of the room, right? The fact that he’s 10 months old and still alive is an absolute miracle. What kind of insight can a Dad like me possibly offer? All I bring to the table is…a penis.
(FYI: I would never actually bring my penis to the table, especially at meal times, of which apparently, my son has none. Meals that is, not a penis, he has one of those for sure.)
However, after much discussion between them and the client (really, this was something that was in need of discussion?), they were willing to let me attend because I was the primary carer for my child. Well, thank you very much. I feel so privileged.
And here’s the real kicker…the market research was for a new brand of Baby Formula. You know what that is, right? Something that someone, anyone, either a Mum or a Dad, can put into a bottle and feed their kid. Crazy.
Well, it’s feeding time right now, so I’ll have to go boil the bicycle chain so it’s easier for him to swallow.
**penis-free version 😉