Tuesday, 14 June 2016

100 Not Out

I realised a few posts ago that I was coming up to a century of posts. I have to admit I was a) shocked b) surprised and c) slightly concerned. I mean what sort of blogger doesn't realise this and have a fab giveaway ready. Erm a blogger like me.

I then decided that my 100th post should be something special. A topic that meant something to me. Not just one of Buddy's brilliant #ftmob moments, or a #wickedwednesday

Writing reactive posts, jumping on popular bandwagons just isn't me. With it currently being a topic here in Ireland. The Repeal the 8th campaign I had decided to write a mans point of view on their child being aborted.

Until tonight when I was asked my opinion on this post  giving the stat that British Men rank the worst for sharing childcare.

Normally I pay no heed to these types of surveys. I know that statistics can be manipulated and massaged without changing the data. I once managed to walk out of a meeting with a large pub/restaurant chain delighted with my companies performance.

Even though we had only met a contractual 4 hour response 47 % of the time. This was done using 100% correct data without omitting any call outs.

I simply ran another report that showed we attended every 4 hour response within 5 hours, and 92 % within 4 1/2 hours. I'm assuming the compilers of this report didn't have that luxury, and were limited by the amount of data they had.

So when it came to the stats on Dad's and childcare I had many reservations.

Were all the Dad's surveyed working a flat 40 hour week?
How long was their commute?
What ages were the children?
Were the parents still together?
What is the definition of childcare?
How much time was available for them to spend doing childcare?
Was parental leave for Dad's taken into account?

To be fair to the post they did seek the opinions of a Dad. Al from The Dad Network. Who gave a good argument for the Dad's.

Being fair minded I actually read the whole report. I was looking for the page that gave the details of how and what information was collected.

Here's the page detailing this.

The first thing to note is this information was collected by means of a survey. These are well known to be inaccurate.

The subject quantity for 2012 figures was just under 20,000 males. No indicator if this was per country or a total of the men surveyed.

I was then amazed at the wording of the question, in the 2003, 2007 and 2012 versions of the survey. There was no information about the 2016 survey.

In 2012 men and women were asked:

Caring for your children/grandchildren how many hours?

Come on! Who can honestly give an accurate answer?

I'm a SAHD and full time carer for my Autistic Stepson. Does that mean I care for my children 24 hours a day? Of course not. Three of them are in school, two in primary and one secondary. Do I have to knock a few hours off each week for shopping trips sans children?

When I was working I worked nights. So slept when the children were at school. How many hours a week did I care for them? I couldn't tell you.

Does the 15 minute school run count as childcare? Do the 2 hours they are at soccer training and I am the assistant coach count as childcare? Is the Mother sitting in the car waiting for training to finish responsible for childcare for that hour?

All subjective questions.

What would have been a much better way to use the report would have been to focus on the areas that need to be improved to help promote gender equality, or the mention in the conclusion of the report that "The levels of taxation in Nordic countries are very high in comparison to the United Kingdom, which can fund many of their welfare policies"

So in short Scandinavian Dad's can get more financial assistance from the government to allow them more time with their children/grandchildren.

What did I learn?

The headline is sensationalist. There were other things contained in the report that were of more relevance!  Any section of the report where the information was gained from a survey I wouldn't trust the data.

So in short whilst we are generalising. UK Dad's. Like your European counterparts some of you are doing a brilliant job, others, like my school report, could do better.

So that we can all do better the Government needs to help Dads more, in some cases to help Dad's they need to help Mum's. Pay equality, Paternal Leave etc etc.

But how many people would read a post titled "Government needs to introduce more policies and narrow Gender pay gap to help UK Dad's spend more time with their children."

What do you think Mum's and Dad's? Are UK Dad's as bad as the report and post make out?

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photo credit: o via photopin (license)


  1. Most of the men around me either work part-time and so does their partner and so they share childcare (as our family do) or work full time and the Mum stays at home meaning they can only be there when their work hours are over.I don't think it's a good reflection as there are too many factors that haven't been taken into consideration.

    1. I totally agree. Statistics on the percantage of SAHD's, number of Grandparents helping with childcare and number of Dad's taking parental leave would have been much more informative.

      The purpose of the whole report is to track gender equality. Not just "How much time Dad's spend caring for their children"

      It's just another case of Dad bashing. We have moved on from the days of a Dad rolling in from work, giving the kids a slap and then sitting down to his dinner.

      Thanks for commenting.

  2. I don;t even know why this is such an issue. It shouldn't matter who looks after the children, as long as someone is, and where possible, kids spend time with both parents. At the moment, my other half is a sahd so does most of the 'childcare' (ie looking after his children!) whilst I am out at work, but when I was a sahm, I did most of it whilst he was at work. When someone is at work, they cannot be there looking after the kids - but they're out earning money to provide for their children! Great post though x

    1. Yes it's a mute point really. That we shouldn't have to discuss. There has been a massive shift in the quality time children get to spend with the working parents.

      It might not be an improvement in the amount of time, but the time working Dad's and Mum's spend with their children is greatly improved.

      A trip to the park, library or swimming pool proves this.

      It's the huge gap in gender pay and services willing to interact with Dad's that should be a concern.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. A great post about an emotive topic. My husband spends a lot of time with our children when he's not working and will hopefully give up work over the next few years so that he can spend even more time with him, whilst I work from home so I get to spend time with them as well. We are in a very fortunate position to be able to do it.

    1. What annoyed me so much is that the report is supposed to try and narrow the gender gap.
      This article just picked up on one point and then added a shocking headline to get readers.

      Thanks for reading and the lovely comment.

  4. I agree that numbers can be manipulated and inaccurate representations can be highly inflammatory. How does one quantify the hours of child care? Just looking at my own case with both parents working and sharing the load, I don't think I can even quantify who does what. We just do.

    1. Exactly and especially as the figures are based on a survey.
      Unless you time every moment you are solely caring for your children on your own no one can say the amount of time.
      The only ones who could would be parents who have shared access.

      Thanks for reading commenting and RTs.

  5. I don't think nationality had anything to do with it. I think in every good country, there are brilliant dads and terrible ones, just the same as there are brilliant mothers and terrible ones. If the same sensationalism had been applied to mothers, people would have been appalled, but because it was about fathers it's somehow ok.
    Thanks for linking up to #BloggerClubUK :)

  6. Most of the men I know including my hubby work very long hours and are the main bread winner. I wouldn't expect my hubby to do most of the childcare as he works so hard and needs a break. I would say I do 95% of the childcare myself, I do also work 2 days a week. As long as the child is looked after by someone and is happy thats all that matters.

  7. My partner is one of the perfect examples of a dad who shares all the child care. We both work from home and take it in turns to take and collect our daughter to and from school. I think that the report sounds unfair.

  8. I think you got it right at the end of your post. I know the Fatherhood Institute quite well. This is more of a PR exercise that the quantitative research it is better know for. Trith is the Nordin countries and some of our European cousins are better at equality than the UK so coming middle of the table doesn't surprise me too much. You are, nonetheless, quite right; there are worse examples out there.