“YES!!! More boy time!”
This was my eldest son’s reaction, when I told him that I would be going to back to work and that my husband (his Step Daddy) would be at home with him after school. My step son, even before we told him the news, informed me that his new years resolution was simply “to do more things with Daddy”.
Don’t get me wrong, I do plenty of “boy stuff” with them – we make lego models, kick a football around, make and fly kites and watch “boy” films such as Star Wars and Transformers. I let them get muddy, ride their bikes through puddles and create masterpieces with off cuts of wood. No matter what I do though, there is always one thing lacking – I do not have a willy. Our older boys seem to have reached an age (7 and 8 ) where this matters. They both crave time with my husband and want his approval far more than they want mine. I have a great relationship with them and I really enjoy their company……but it is my husband that they want to impress the most, with their intricate lego models or latest achievement at school.
With this in mind, I think the role swap is going to be so good for them. Our current set up, means my husband gets home just as the children are going to bed, and then the limited time available with him has to be shared between 3 children. My step son fares even worse in the boy time stakes – most of the time he lives in an all female household. Even when he and his sister stay with us in the holidays, my husband has often had to work so the time available for “boy stuff” has been restricted.
Going forward it is all going to change and the boys will have much more time with my husband. They are already planning projects together – building a bird table for the garden, visiting Duxford musuem and working on even more intricate and complicated lego models. It’s not just about typical boy stuff though, but about just hanging out with him. They like it when he reads to them, or cooks with them or helps them with their homework. They love just hanging out with him and getting his perspective on things.
I’m not suggesting for a moment that a Mum cannot have an incredible bond with her sons but I do think that for a long time the importance to boys of their Dads has maybe not been recognised and celebrated enough. I feel excited that this is changing, not just in our household but also out there in the world at large. Every day it seems there is a new report in support of fatherhood – from the increase in shared parenting arrangements for separated families to the recent announcement that paternity/maternity leave here in the UK is changing.
Today I feel very positive about our decision.
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