Working Father The Term Matters

Posted: Tuesday January 14 2020

By: Abbie Coleman

I wish I could tell you how many times I have heard the term working mother used, from newspaper articles, to business lunches through to our very own magazine. For me, I identify with the term working mother covering all mothers as I have yet to meet any mother who doesn’t work whether it’s at home or in the office or both. But is the term something more than that, is it this very term that’s used so freely the very thing that’s holding us all back?

Working Mother V Working Father

It’s a frequently used term and in fact, a term that can cause offence from implying a mother who stays at home is somewhat less than the mother who goes to work and a woman who leaves her child to go to work is in some way not a “full-time mother”. 

Why we even needed to have this distinction labelled on mothers I am not to sure, its a little bit like why we need the term mumpreneur! But perhaps the biggest issue for me is the fact we do not hear the term working father (or fatherpreneur!)  with as equal measure. In fact, I struggle to think of the last time I heard the term working father outside of MMB Magazine discussions.

Have you heard these said lately?

“Is your husband babysitting tonight so you can go out?”

“Your so lucky your husband looks after the children”

We still seem to have everyday conversations that place the mother as the caregiver and the husband as the provider, this is still very much the frustrating norm. But is it really the norm in 2018, as if I ask my contacts its offensive to fathers as much as it is mothers?

This itself raises one of the biggest questions I think the business market and society has to ask itself, as the answer is holding more than mothers back its telling our society we simply don’t see men as equal parents.

Many of my contacts who are working fathers who have set their own businesses up, say one of the best things this has given them is the time to spend with their children. To be there when it counts from sick days to sports days. And of course, why wouldn’t they say this they are loving fathers just as much as I am a loving mother.

The more I introduce this conversation the more women and men say how fed up they with these out of date stereotypes. We need to change and challenge our use of our language, we may be surprised at the effect this has. If the term working father and working mother is used in equal measures then we start to even the playing field both at work and at home.

So will I still use the terms working mother and working father?

Yes I will, I know to battle against this term would take longer than I have left on this planet. But by asking you to use the term working father in equal measure we do something so much more, we gain equality for working mothers and working fathers at home and at work.

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