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  • This Dad Wants To Change The Way We Look At Fathers: 'We Do Not Babysit, We Parent'

    It's time to change how we look at Filipino fathers.
    by JR Santiago .
This Dad Wants To Change The Way We Look At Fathers: 'We Do Not Babysit, We Parent'
PHOTO BY Shutterstock/SUKJAI PHOTO
  • When I started Dadvocacy Community in 2015, I found myself as one of the few Pinoy dads who wanted to advocate for involved fatherhood amongst a sea of mom groups and communities.

    On top of that, I wasn't sure if there was space for a "Dadvocate" like me in the parenting conversation because of the negative stereotypes about Pinoy dads.

    I've been fortunate though because in featuring dads over the years, I've met many who are breaking these stereotypes.

    10 Pinoy dad stereotypes we need to stop believing now

    "Dads are just providers"

    A lot of people still think that we're just supposed to be providers. The dads I've featured prove otherwise—most of them see their roles as more than that and they put in time and effort to be more involved parents.

    "Dads babysit"

    This is the stereotype I want to break the most. I want everyone to realize that dads like me do not babysit, WE PARENT. We're also not the bumbling idiots like the dads portrayed on TV when we're left alone with the kids.

    "Dads don't change diapers"

    The dads I've featured also know that parenting is a team sport and as 50% of that team, we have to put in the work, which includes changing nappies.

    Dads change diapers, too and we even know which brands are best for when you're at home or when you're out with the baby.

    "Dads just want to play video games and not help in parenting"

    I've also met some gamer dads who realized that after having a child, their gaming habits had to change. They now follow a routine where they still have time to play but usually after doing their child rearing and home chores.

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    "Dads don't know how to do groceries"

    In this pandemic, a lot of dads had to take on the role of doing the groceries alone. In our case for example, I'm in charge of making the grocery list and I just confirm with my wife, Luanne, the items she needs for the days when she will cook (yes, we take turns). Then I'm off to the supermarket.

    "Dads don't know how to cook and do house chores"

    At home, I prepare breakfast and cook dinner at least three times a week and for the days I don't have to cook, I do the laundry.

    This is more common now because I think a lot of us are realizing that to our wives, there's nothing sexier than a man who does house chores.

    "Dads can fix everything at home"

    Contrary to popular opinion, we cannot fix everything that gets broken at home. We try though thanks to YouTube. So please be patient with us, we'll figure it out eventually, or we'll get a professional to do it.

    "Being stay-at-home dads make them less of a man"

    I've met a number of stay-at-home dads and for me, they are the real super heroes. Being a stay-at-home parent is more difficult than having a full-time job and those who choose to be one should be praised, not made to feel that they are less in any way.

    "Dads do not show emotions and are not supposed to cry"

    Being told that "boys don't cry" growing up, a lot of us still struggle with expressing our feelings. However, with calls for ending toxic masculinity at home and at work, more dads now feel that expressing our feelings, seeking help, and crying do not make us less of a man.

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    "Dads do not say 'I love you'"

    Growing up, I didn't hear this a lot from my dad, which is why I've made a conscious effort to always tell my daughter, Zoe, I love her and hug her every chance I get.

    I do so because I want her to feel loved and I know the hugs have an expiration date.

    In doing this advocacy, I see that more dads are breaking the stereotypes and are stepping up to become more involved parents. In the years to come, I look forward to seeing more Pinoy dads not only change the fatherhood narrative but to also help change the world, one dad at a time.

     

    JR Santiago is the founder of Dadvocacy Community, an advocacy on Facebook and Instagram that encourages and inspires dads to be more involved parents. The community features dads and give advice about the joys of involved parenting. In Dadvocacy Community, they believe that involved fathers = happier children.

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