Bringing a child into the world is enriching in so many ways and raising them with your partner makes being a parent all the more glorious.

If your wife or partner spends an evening away from home, you are a parent, not a babysitter. While it is true that mothers and fathers have distinct roles to play in their children’s lives, both are parents and share equal responsibility in ensuring that the child receives everything they need to become a conscientious human being who will have a positive impact on society.

Parenthood is a journey that requires two parties to be equally involved in the life of a child, but toxic narratives pertaining to gender roles have resulted in fathers being considered mere bystanders in the process, placing most of the responsibility of child-rearing on the shoulders of the mother. Positive parenting is a collaborative effort wherein you and your partner, or spouse, work together to ensure that you raise a child who has a healthy mind, body and soul. Moreover, it is about displaying behaviour that doesn’t perpetuate the toxic beliefs about gender roles in the home and in society.

It’s quite unfortunate that when we see a father alone with his children, we look on with admiration and awe. When mommy isn’t around, father’s are applauded for spending time with their children as if their doing society a favour. Consequently, the suggestion is that a father is only a parent when the mother is present. We need to normalise the idea of fathers as active participants in childcare. Father’s also need to be proactive in challenging the narrative by fully immersing themselves in their role as parents—this will not only do away with toxic beliefs around the role of a father but it will also take the pressure off mothers. Furthermore, if fathers fully immerse themselves in their parenting duties, they will be setting an example for their sons and daughters. 

Women have also played a role in perpetuating the damaging idea that a father is a baby sitter when the mother isn’t around; this is partly due to socialisation—we have been socialised into believing that the areas in which we are most effective and needed are in the kitchen and the toy-strewn nursery; this archaic foundation of the personhood of women needs to be replaced with something that will liberate women to express other forms of themselves, and it will bring men down from their thrones of privilege where everything is about them and for them—where they can pick and choose what is and isn’t their responsibility. The role of a father is to be an ever-present figure in the lives of their children; it is about providing, nurturing and supporting your child. Whether or not the mother is present, the father is not exempt from being a parent. Children need their fathers as much as they need their mothers. 


Children are more observant and perceptive than we give them credit, whatever they see in the homes, they are most likely to mimic and reflect in their interactions with others. The home must be a microcosm of the society we wish to live in. Parents must do all they can to create home environments in which dysfunction is not allowed to take root and flourish; by modelling effective and healthy gender roles in the home, you will be making a valuable contribution to society, into which your children will eventually enter and become active participants.  


Leave a Reply