My emotions have been all over the place in the last week. It all started with a bug, our eight year old son complained of a sore tummy. This turned into sickness and diarrhoea that felt endless! My wife at this time was nine months pregnant and our focus was on getting our son better before his new little brother came along.
In answer to the question, no women do not better parents than men. There are, of course, bad dads in the world and there are also bad mothers. I just don't think society gives men the opportunities to prove what great parents they can be. This is simply because the overwhelming responsibility for raising children almost always falls on women and this starts at birth.
I admit, I miss the income I once had. I would like to make a greater contribution to the household budget. This, however, is partly down to the age of our children. Our youngest daughter starts school next year and I see light at the end of the tunnel. Until that time, I am quite happy with how things are. My wife is free to concentrate on her career while I have taken on the main responsibility for looking after the children.
You try making conversation, but none develops. Your hopes of meeting new people, making new friends, forming bonds with other parents for the sake of your child are dwindling. You end up sitting alone in a corner, watching your child play alone while all around a community you long to be a part of continues on oblivious.
From the moment the interview began, John showed a stubborn refusal to give in to the nuclear stereotype, that fathers and mothers have fixed roles. Here was a man whose desire is to represent fatherhood and give a voice to a minority of men who feel undervalued or let down by a stereotype of how families should function.
Dads often suffer a crisis of masculinity, particularly stay-at-home dads who rely on their partner as the breadwinner, finding themselves reluctant to ask for money from the partner, which goes against their natural instinct as a male, to be able to provide, to be self-sufficient and a role model to their child.
As a middle-aged man I never felt feminism had anything to do with me. It was the woman's battle for equality. Whilst I may have agreed with their ethos and end goals it was, and always would be their fight. It was only when listening to Emma Watson's amazing speech to the UN that I realised how wrong I was.
I have never seen any dads in the hub. Not even partners. The hub is usually a child-free zone too, a place of mothers in conversation while their children fend for themselves. This day there were lots of crying and distressed pre-school children who needed the attention of scattered lone parents, before their actual parent in the hub noticed.
Admittedly, as part of the new launch Mattel has partnered existing businesswomen to give advice to those aspiring to follow in their footsteps, but this doesn't go far enough. Everyone trying to maintain some sort of work/life balance knows that professional performance is affected by how organised, settled, stable - and happy, we are able to be at home.