It appears to me that Saturday is mums’ day off. We have just been to the Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre – a water wonderland for adults and children alike, and an unusually fantastic facility for a rural town – and I am pretty sure that the majority of punters were fathers and their children. It was noticeable because usually during the week when I take Elka to the park, I encounter the rare father, who sips a short black instead of a skinny decaf latte. The occasional dad stands out at the park during the week. The occasional mum stands out at the aquatic centre on the weekend.

I have heard of shared parenting, and listening to Life Matters every morning, it appears it is becoming fairly normal. Shared parenting is the sort where the dads, instead of reading the paper in the morning and hurrying to work while mum looks after the kids all day, stays home with the kids, and take them to the park, while mum goes out to work. Some people I know split the week, a few days of work each. Awesome. Everyone is pretty satisfied by this arrangement, right?

We certainly share parent in my family. I am lucky to have a husband who gets by working a few days a week. The rest of the time he is home, and has consequently spent many an afternoon taking Elka for a sleep, or taking her to the park, while I do some study, or work on the website, or something. This has got to be the way of the future. Dads get to spend more time with their kids, and hence have a stronger bond, and mums get to pursue other activities other than mothering, which for most women I know is darn important.

But if today’s experience at the aquatic centre is anything to go by, maybe Saturday is dads’ day, and the rest of the week, mum has the kids. It is telling that when I asked one of the fathers what his partner was up to that day, he said “cleaning the house”. Right, well there you go. Maybe shared parenting is still in the future. Or maybe it’s closer than we think – “I’m going home to vacuum when she’s done”, the dad in question then adds. Cool. That’s good news.

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