The importance of partnership
Kaz says the juggle between parents when one is working and the other stays at home raises the importance of partnership in a relationship.
“A partnership is so crucial even if you’re not together as romantic partners. In a real partnership it’s about understanding what the other person is going through and at least trying to empathise.
“The partner who is not at home, goes and works all these hours and they have to go home and do another shift and they don’t know how exhausting it is for the partner at home.
“That communication is about respect for what the other person is going through. That is so hard when everyone is sleep deprived even when everything is perfect and you don’t have a baby with special needs. That partnership is so important.
“You have to show a really united front against other people interfering like in-laws and others who have ideas about how things should be done.
“It can be a juggle when there is one at home and one at paid work and the one at home can feel like ‘Cinderella in a cyclone’. They are exhausted. They are keeping the baby alive, but they have to do all the housework because the other person is at work.
“That can feel like drudgery and they’re thinking ‘I don’t have an income and independence’. Those are things they have to talk about. Whose money is it and who has control of it?
“Ideally it is good to get this sorted before the baby arrives.
“Then there are stay at home dads when you reverse all that. Then they don’t feel welcome at mothers group or they are treated as heroes with bizarre over the top praise for doing what women do without comment – ‘You have wrapped the baby how marvellous!’.”
Empower men with messages about what they are good at
Kaz says men need to find areas of expertise and be empowered with an understanding of the things they are good at.
“A lot of gate keeping very often happens with the older generations. They have almost never seen a man who stays at home and then there’s men themselves who look at other men staying at home and say ‘you lucky bastard’, looking down at him. It comes from sexism that’s given a little twist.
“We also have to look at what our definition of a successful dad is. It matters if the children are safe, it doesn’t matter if the child’s pants match their top.
“Men and women will do things differently. It is about respecting what the other partner is doing. If he’s done the dishes and taken the child to the park, it doesn’t matter if he forgot one sock.
“It’s about extending kindness in the situation. Women tend to say ‘that’s hopeless let me do that’. That attitude means one partner can end up feeling sidelined. It’s so important that dads, right through the teen years, take a step back and say I don’t understand that.
“Mother's instinct is not something you are born with. You have to get to know your baby. It’s a mixture of instinct and knowledge. The idea of women’s instinct is too much pressure on women, like they have a magic power and it leaves men out of the equation, like you’re never going to get it.
“That whole idea can be unhelpful. We have to be careful of how we talk about instinct. It’s not a magic power. That’s why I want to bring these experts together and put the experts on the page for people.”