Having Dad at Home is Great
As Victoria slowly eases some of the safety restrictions in place to help limit the spread of the coronavirus, working from home is still recommended for many workplaces. That means in a lot of households, Dad is still at home – and hasn’t that been great?
Photo: By Peter Dlhy from unsplash.com
No really. I’m not joking (although I might have been at the beginning!).
Before COVID-19 family time in Australia meant Dad’s spent 16 hours a week parenting and playing with their children. Why, because on average they spent 43 hours working and 6 hours doing household jobs. The statistics breakdown even further.
During the week, kids would spend 5 hours more with their mother than Dad. On the weekend that would shift. Kids would spend more time with Dad, but it was still 2 hours less than they'd spend with Mum. Whatever the breakdown, coronavirus has tipped that on its head.
Instead we’ve all been spending time together and often, our kids have been spending lots of that time with their Dad. In our house, Dad time doesn’t necessarily involve jigsaws or bike rides through manicured parks. They might have when we lived in the city, but not now.
Now they involve fencing, controlled burns, moving sheep, chopping wood and learning how to fix the water pipes that still aren’t working the way they should. There are bits of paper all over the house that involve carefully determined calculations so Dad can work out how much wire is needed, or where the valves need to go to control the flow and pressure of the water to the paddocks.
In between he’s got them stacking the dishwasher and hanging out the washing. In fact, fitting in learning from home can sometimes be a challenge so now the kids are submitting those fencing calculations just to show they are doing something with their ‘extra’ time!
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not all jobs off the to-do list happy. Our furniture is all against the wall because two boys and a man in the house for extended periods of time seems to involve tea-towel flicking and legs everywhere wrestling. I may never get to move it back. They seem to like it! The bathroom or the walk in closet are the only places I can hide to avoid the testosterone – and sometimes that’s even a push. Desk chairs need to be spun on. Pets need to walk through the house like it’s a paddock. You get my drift.
But having Dad home has proved to be a great thing and our household isn’t the only one that says it. I wonder, if those family statistics are calculated in 12 months time, will they have flexed back to what they were before COVID-19? Or will families opt to make some changes now that they've had a chance to discover how more Dad (or other partner) time works for them?
Disclaimer: Having everyone at home isn’t always happy families. Pressures can get on top of you. Underlying problems can be hard to get away from, or things can just go wrong. If that happens in your house don’t wait before you ask for help. Call 1800 Respect.
AUTHOR: Lana de Kort