Young Fathers

Younger men make great fathers; so great that you might end up fighting over changing the baby’s nappies. My younger lover, J, was shown how to change pooped diapers –as the Americans might call them – by my midwife and ever since then he has shown extreme enthusiasm in wiping shit off baby bum and sticking the Velcro. The other day he even tried to show me up at the paediatrician’s because I was ‘allegedly’ (according to his impatient young nerves) taking too long to put the nappy on. I was shoved aside with a “Here let me do it.” Well, pardon me monsieur but up until recently this was very much female terrain.

Not so any longer!

The young fathers of today are hands on when it comes to babies, infants, toddlers, teenagers from previous relationships/marriages and any other offspring (be it also of the animal kind). J told me – long before we were even practising getting pregnant – that he really wanted children. He also stated clearly that he didn’t want to miss out on the growing up of any potential sons and daughters by being a workaholic comes-home-late father. Consequently he has chosen not to take a nine to five job (or nine to ten pm as is more often the case these days) and instead he is crafting his own niche. In creating a work-life balance that can allow him to be part of his son’s daily life, he has been quite adventurous. For seven months of the year we will be living on a beach in Goa, India (the one where we met incidentally) running a yoga centre. Clever, techie J also designed the website and organised all the retreats.

This has kept him busy pretty much all summer. But when he comes home – or changes room – after his day on the web, he cooks so that I can continue faffing around feeding the baby or whatever else I’m faffing around doing. These young dads are not like previous generations of fathers who demanded the ‘kid in bed’ and ‘dinner on the table’ by seven. The fathers of today are a new breed, more advanced in an evolutionary sense. You can find them on playgrounds holding sippy cups; alone at parents evenings because the wife is on a business trip; wearing aprons cooking cakes for junior’s first birthday and patiently soothing temper tantrums. According to statistics the average father spends 238 minutes a day looking after his children – that’s nearly four hours. Hail the new dads!

I have an Argentinean aunt who has five children, three of whom she gave birth to in the first four years of her marriage. Her husband was useless when it came to helping with the kids. Infact he was useless full stop. He was a gambler and a womaniser. My poor aunt did everything around the house, looked after her babies, infants, toddlers etc and even managed to find a few hours to do accounting work that was at times the only income the family had. She was so exhausted – and this was the pre-pampers era – that she used spent her Sundays ironing nappies and her husband’s shirts and crying. Crying and ironing, ironing and crying – all miserable Sunday long.
I don’t know how these women did it. But it’s probably thanks to them we have multi-skilling in our DNA.
For the regular followers of my column: Yes, as you can see I had the baby – hence the delay in writing this recent instalment. And thanks all is well. He is gorgeous and motherhood is everything amazing people tell you it is but time is as limited as they warn you it will be. Childbirth is not as bad as they say. Now that’s encouraging coming from a woman who endured 42 hours of labour. But that’s another story.

For more information from Claudia’s latest book visit here

Get the latest from the blog: