Happy Father’s Day Pandemic Dads
Childhood is like a hazy dream with shaky pictures and moments of tenderness and pain.
Sometimes I struggle to make out my father, except this tall, harsh figure of discipline who demanded mathematics perfection. There are glimpses of protection and love and laughter. But mainly authority. Like a massive shadow on the wall.
‘Daddy's at work.’
Us office types with our tip-tapping lives, with networks and VPNs, we have recently spent lots more time at home with our families, seeing, feeling and partaking in what really goes on when we’re not there.
Remember the split we used to have between the office and home, between work and family, between money and personal responsibility?
COVID-19 tore that down.
Remember when you were handed your baby and you swallowed hard thinking ‘now I’m a father, now what do I do?’ During the pandemic, you’re feeling it all over again.
What is a father?
A father is not a financial tag or a human spear. A father is capable of a multitude of emotions and can grow emotionally with his children. A father can see and understand the world anew by experiencing it together with his children. A father can be happy. A father can smile and laugh at nothing and at everything. A father can love deeply.
Maybe this strange, yet revelatory, time has shown us that we, as fathers, don't need to be trapped by the conventions of old. The new normal brings with it an opportunity to redefine roles both in the family and at work.
We used to dread work. We used to dread Mondays. We used to love weekends to be free, to be at home and catch up on sleep. To switch off.
Sure, there’s been less sleep and less switching off, but when the boundaries of old are no longer relevant, negative connotations also carry no weight.
So Happy Father’s Day! Embrace it — this may well be the golden age of fatherhood.