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The Myth of Male Parenting


Another good debate this week about the role of men in childcare. A new book, “Men can do it” by Gideon Burrows, argues that the idea that men are taking a bigger role in bringing up their children is largely a myth. Mr Burrows says: "The sad truth is that we don't really want to do childcare. It's lovely, but it's also boring, disgusting, unrewarding and tedious and entails career, financial and life sacrifices that we're just not willing to take.”

The Independent notes that: “The book … also examines the barriers to equal parenting, including poor paternity pay, non-flexible jobs, public services geared towards mothers, workplace prejudice and social conventions."

You can see the full article here. It strikes me that each couple needs to work this out together without being guilty about whatever outcome emerges. But we also need to provide positive support for men who are pioneering new roles and to show that there are a wide range of options out there.

I have canvassed a few reactions:

From a stay-at-home Dad: “I think what saddened me after reading this article was that it puts all men under the banner of not wanting to give up their careers etc. Obviously I can say "I did it!" but I also know lots of men who work but, at a drop of a hat, would swap or change their roles if it was better for their family.”

From Carl Beech of CVM: “Feels like a non-argument to me. I know of very few men personally who have an issue with who does or doesn't work. I think culture is moving fast. We need to be careful that we don't argue the case over issues that won't be fought over by the emerging generation... Certainly "gen y" have a very easy going approach to these issues... “

From a woman activist: “…if men's identity, and the pressure to fit in the man box, are too closely connected it can mean they feel unable to choose to stay at home because it will then "invalidate" their masculinity, and therefore their entire identity.”

Do you want to join the debate? Let me have your thoughts.


A plug this week for the BBC website which has provided consistent high-quality coverage of important issues related to relationships and violence against women. Two stories that have caught
my eye recently are on children and pornography andwomen in Afghanistan. Great to see my licence fee being used for significant journalism. Keep up the good work.


It’s my birthday today – 55. Life is speeding by. A good time to reflect on what life is for, as well as to eat lots of cake. I feel privileged to be involved in Restored and First Man Standing. Thank you for all the personal feedback and support that you have given over the past couple of years. I am also concluding that sending birthday cards has a gender dimension. Well that’s my explanation of why I get so many less cards than my wife, Stella, whose birthday was last week ….

Have a great week.


Peter Grant (peter.grant@restoredrelationships.org)
Co-Director, Restored

What is First Man Standing?

First Man Standing is an opportunity for men everywhere to be the first in their family, club, church or workplace to stand up
and speak out about building strong relationships and ending violence against women.
We are proposing three steps for men to follow in order to make a difference:
1. Respect all women everywhere and demonstrate love and support for women and children in your family.
2. Challenge other men by speaking out to your friends and colleagues about ending violence and negative attitudes
towards women.
3. Join the cause and make a personal pledge – which you have already done!
First Man Standing is a campaign of Restored, an international Christian alliance working to transform relationships and end violence against women.

Want to support the work of Restored?