Stereotypes are fun. Though they are generally completely wide of the mark, they give is an instant idea of the general group we’re discussing and put an immediate image in our brain. The problem for me is that I’m not quite sure what a stereotypical school Dad really is.
It’s much simpler for women. They get the honour of being instantly labelled and pretty much insulted in everyone’s minds as soon as the words ’school Mum’ are mentioned. Of course it should not be the case but the mind often skips to a young lady still in her pyjamas gossiping outside the school gates with the other mums before climbing inside a car too big for her to handle and flying off home. Yes I know it’s wrong, but that’s the stereotype.
I’m pretty confident my wife will never be able to mould into that school mum type. We simply can’t afford a bigger car. This leaves the responsibility of being the stereotypical school Dad to me but I’m just not really sure what my role is?
Am I supposed to be the hard working guy doing all he can to provide and put food on the table? Working so many hours that the school do not even know I exist and just assume Sarah is a single mum until I turn up to collect him one day and they call the police thinking I’m a kidnapper. That’s not for me.
Maybe my role is to be the big rugged man turning up with Mum only to sports games and talking to the other Dads about DIY, beer and meat. Shouting loudly and abusively at teachers forced to referee games that they don’t even know the rules to just because nobody else is available and trying to make up for my own lack of sporting talent through my Son. This US TV stereotype Dad is not really for me either.
There are other forms of Dad I’m happy to write off instantly. The Dad that walked away, the abusive Dad and the really annoying Dad who wants to tell everyone how it should be done are not in my skill set so I can’t even consider them.
So where does this leave me? Truth be told, I’m not a particularly manly man, nor do I have it in me to be rude to anyone which pretty much ruins any Dad stereotype out there. Perhaps the ’modern day Dad’ that is far more accepting and in touch with their emotional side…. Absolutely not I’ll just stop there!
Let’s face it, I’m a one if a kind aren’t I? No. I will be the same type of school Dad that so many of us actually are, even if it’s not considered this way. I’ll be there picking him up, chatting to his teachers and helping him with his homework. I’ll be at every sports day and football match but also every parents evening and school play. I will be the most supportive school Dad that I can be, even if this does not fit any stereotypes.
This is not something new to me, nor a vow to achieve something I will never stick with. Throughout Robbie’s time at Chestnut Grove Nursery I have never been shy to collect him and talk to both his teachers and the other kids in his class. He has spent a couple of days a week with these kids for over three years and the teachers are responsible for so much of his development that I seems absurd to me that I would not know them.
It has always struck me as a little strange how few Dads I’ve met during his nursery years. In a world of equality and a fear of stereotypes is it still true that all of the men are at work whilst the Mums stay home or is it simply that the men do not want to get involved with their kids schools. I don’t really know, but I find it odd either way.
I realise I’m a lucky guy in that I have a job with pretty flexible hours and a management team that are happy to respect that my family are far more important to me than my job could ever be. Not all parents, male or female, are quite so lucky.
My wife and I work in the same restaurant and we have never even considered the possibility that she stays home and be a ’school mum’ whilst I work and have a limited relationship with my Son. We work similar hours and share responsibility for making sure our baby grows into a fully functioning adult, unlike us. Perhaps I am a modern Dad after all but more realistically, I just don’t like working very hard.
Anyway, my point is this. Stereotypes do still exist and many are around for a reason, regardless of how much we pretend they are false. As with any blog post I write, I made a little keyword research before writing to see what subjects people are googling in regards to what I am covering. I wouldn’t usually share but these are interesting, in my humble opinion.
On the left hand side are the top questions asked to google with the words ’school Dad’ involved. They are all related to a Dad’s right to be involved such as whether they can change schools or even just contact the place of their child’s education. On the right hand side, school Mum’s.
School mum stereotypes
’Why are school Mums so mean’ and ‘Are school Mums horrible’ clearly standout. We can all say stereotypes are false but clearly there are differences in the way that we see mums and Dads and it is up to all parents to change these views.
I’ll do my bit. I have no intention of falling into any school Dad stereotype and I’m proud of that. I’ll be there for Robbie with anything he needs to help him through school and also there for the school should they need my help with Robbie. September is looming and I can’t wait to get started.
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