I have been watching a series on BBC 4 about the evolution of Fatherhood over the last hundred years and it has really struck a cord with me.
The first episode explored the Victorian Dad and the children who were to be seen and not heard and how that maybe wasn’t the case. This was a time where Dads had a job as provider and protector of the family. There was a movement in the 1920’s called father-craft which tried to encourage Dads to do more with their children and to teach them the basics like nappy changes and feeding.
The second part looked at Dads during World War Two and the relationships with Fathers being away from home fighting for their country. Some Dads came home and were strangers to their children and others managed to make the most of the time they had with their families. It then looked at the 1950’s and 1960’s and rebellious teens and the freedom they sought and how that put a totally new slant on the parental role.
The last part had a look at the Modern Dad and how the role has evolved since the 1960’s. It looks at the more hands on approach to Fatherhood and how the sexual revolution and feminism has made fathers more insecure and powerless in so many ways. It also had a look at the Fathers 4 Justice group and how that evolved.
It was such an interesting watch and has really made me think. The subject is really close to my heart.
I grew up in the 1980’s, with my Mum and Dad and 2 younger sisters. Mum and Dad both worked and they had very clearly defined roles. Mum was a provider in many senses. She went out to work and brought in a decent salary for the family, was the care giver, the housekeeper, the cook, the cleaner, the nurse, the shoulder to cry on etc etc. My Dad worked , he never really took any interest in the house or the 3 of us and I always felt like I was just a nuisance to him. Apparently he was desperate for a son and since he only got 3 girls we were very much resented by him.
I don’t remember spending any quality time with him growing up, he took myself and my middle sister swimming once and threw both of us in at the deep end to teach us how to swim and he traumatised my sister so much my Mum wouldn’t let us go again! When they split up when I was 9 I felt such relief and happiness, my Mum did her best to make our house a happy one but with such a powerful influence in my Dad it was really hard for her.
Thank god for my Grandpa I was so lucky that he was there to provide a father figure. My Grandpa was a true gentleman, very loving and caring and so knowledgeable about everything, and I mean everything 🙂 I have 5 uncles on my Mums side and along with my Grandpa they did a fantastic job providing that love, care and attention that we didn’t get from our Dad.
I honestly have never felt that I missed out on anything while I was growing up and I know that my parents’ splitting was the best thing that could have happened for all of us. I supposed it just goes to show that biology only plays a small part and it’s really down to the people around you and that raise you that really matter.
Now I’m a parent myself I understand the unconditional love that comes along with it and I don’t understand how any parent can just walk away from their children. For all Miss B might drive me nuts at times I can’t imagine not seeing her for a week never mind a year or more!
I look at Mark with Miss B and see the love they have for each other. She follows him about and tells him all the time he is her best friend and is definitely your stereotypical Daddy’s girl.
I look on my Grandpa as more of a Dad because he was the one who was there for me growing up. He had 10 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild and he was amazing to all of us and loved nothing more that to be in our company and tell us stories and also to help us learn, he was such a great educator and believed whole heartily that children deserved love and to be taught everything about the world. He also had very strong religious views, that said he never lectured or disowned me, when at age 17 I moved in with a boy I had only known for 6 months. He kept his views to himself and was very supportive and there for us when we needed him.
He passed away last year and it has left such an impact on our whole family. Today would have been his birthday and I wanted to pay tribute to the wonderful man I am proud to call my Grandpa.
Love you and miss you always