SARAH MACONACHIE

WORK HARD PARENT HARD

I was speaking to my sister the other day who works in diversity and inclusion and we were discussed Gender Equity and how it’s really an issue for society as a whole. If we really want to bridge the gap, I truly believe we need to start at home and create equality in our house with household chores and looking after our children.

I am one of 3 girls, and we have all married really “hands on” men. They all help around the house and share the childcare. Before you all get too excited reading this- there is always room for improvement, but on the whole all 3 of them are really great, especially with sharing the childcare and being very involved dads. During this conversation, my sister said something that has really got me thinking.

“Well, if you think back, Dad was really present with us, he did quite a lot around the house and he shared the childcare….”

This is SO true.

My Dad was a teacher, so he was home by 4.30pm every day. We always had dinner all together, mum cooked, dad always did the dishes, they had their “roles” in the house with regards to jobs and it was by no means 50/50 but my dad still did quite a lot to help.

In the school holidays, my mum only had 50% of the holiday off so we would spend the rest of the holiday with Dad. He would play squash and would assign my sister and I a task to build something or find something from the rugby fields behind, he would play golf and we would Cady for him and find golf balls. We LOVED it!

My point to this is this. Did we all marry similar hands-on men out of pure coincidence, or did we marry men like that because that’s what we were raised to believe is normal?

I hope the latter….

I have been thinking and writing a lot about gender equality and I hadn’t even though about my own situation. I know I am very lucky with my own husband, but I hadn’t thought about my own parents. I am SO Grateful that I was raised in such an equal house. And in that generation, I think it would still have been quite rare for that to happen. My dad has always had a great relationship with my sisters and I and it’s all thanks to the time he spent with us. When I look back at my childhood, I don’t remember the birthday or Christmas presents, I don’t remember what we had and what we didn’t have. What sticks in my mind are all the great times I had with my family. The time spent with my mum after school talking to her whilst I helped cook dinner, time in the school holidays when we went on fin adventures with Dad. Time is the most precious gift you can give you children as a parent.

Our Belief systems are built up from generations, our parents, their parents etc. it is really the catalyst of why we think and behave the way that we do. I feel so incredibly fortunate that I have been raised in a way that promotes gender equality and I now live exactly like that myself which will enable my children to be the same way.

If we really want to bridge the Gender gap- this is where we start! Women need to have the confidence to speak up with what they want and need at home and at work. And men need to continue to do more to help at home and with their children, and workplaces need to fully support this.

I read something yesterday written by a mother. She was saying how she runs around in the morning, getting the kids up, washed, dressed, breakfast, lunches ready etc. And then by the time her husband comes out ready for the day showered and dressed she had about 8 minutes to get ready herself. The post annoyed me. Why is her husband not doing half of those jobs and helping her out? Their children belong to both of them and should be both of their responsibilities. If she’s struggling with time in the mornings, why is she not asking her husband to help? This is where the problems start.

Ladies please start speaking up for what you want and need in terms of help and support. If you create this equality in your house now, just think of the effects that will have on your children, and their children… it’s up to us to make that change and to bridge the gender gap. It’s also up to men to allow the transition to occur. To be open to changing the status quo and enabling more balance to spend with your children and supporting your family at home. I will be forever grateful that I was raised in a family dynamic that has naturally created equality in my own house. You have the ability to give that gift to your children as well.

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