For our first instalment of parent lockdown chronicles, we spoke to Kola, 35, a Planning Engineer and father of two based in Sussex about fatherhood, being a ‘girl-dad’ and parenting during lockdown.
1. How have you found juggling work, parenting and home schooling through COVID-19? Is there anything in particular that has helped?
It has been hard and I haven’t found much to help with the balance . These are tough times and you just have to zone out at times of the chaos going on and deal with the situation at hand. When it was allowed I managed to get in some breaks ahead of lockdown which allowed me to reset and came back straight to it. It’s very important for parents to also be taking care of themselves and their health and well-being ensuring they are at their best in being there for their child/ren.
2. Has it got easier as your children have got older to ease into working life and create that much needed work, life balance?
Not all all, I think that creating a perfect work life balance is a challenge for us all regardless or being a parent or not. What I will say is that it’s something that is always a work in progress.
3. When you first became a father was there a big change in your working life?
No not much at all. As a working dad I was still able to manage the balance between being an active and present father as well as keeping my current working pattern stable.
4. What advice would you give others when it comes to co-parenting?
I think it’s important to be humble when it comes to co-parenting and understanding that there may be some times where you need to bite your tongue to keep the peace and ensure a united front for your child/ren.
5. What are the upsides of parenting?
It’s definitely seeing your kids smile and being happy when you prepare them for bed and tuck them in after a long day.
6. What’s the hardest thing you’ve found in parenting?
The hardest thing has been not using ‘smacking’ as a way of correcting bad behaviour. I’ve made a conscious decision to guide and correct them using words but this is very much an iterative process.
7. In a world where we are still striving towards gender equality, what do you do to ensure your daughter is empowered?
With my daughter I think her being able to defend herself is key whether that’s in speaking up for herself or defending herself physically. I ensure she knows aspects of self defence especially considering the world we are currently living in.
8. Do you find there to be a difference to raising a young boy and a young girl?
Yes, for me there a big difference as well as the difference in characters between them. With boys my belief is that you have to teach them aspects of how to express themselves more given the world generally teaches boys to repress their emotions. Given gendered stereotypes it’s also been important for me to teach my son how to treat and interact with girls and others. There are also aspects of this with young girls and understanding some of the stereotypes that society deem the norm and how to move against that.
9. What’s the best thing about being a ‘girl dad’?
I get to show my daughter what unconditional love is and feels like with no ifs or buts.