Introducing the Dadpreneur Movement

Dadpreneur Movement, have it all, working fathers, having it all, notonthehighstreet.com

I know how this man feels. It was not easy being a full-time working dad.

Something that’s always baffled me is talk of women trying to “have it all.” I recognise there’s plenty of evidence suggesting women continue to take responsibility for the majority of the housework and childcare in most relationships. Despite this I’ve never felt there’s enough recognition of those men who are involved fathers are also struggle to “have it all.”

If I think back to the days when I was a full-time working dad, this described me perfectly. Just like my wife, I was trying to have the career and nice home life whilst also being there for my offspring. It was a Swan-like existence. I had clean clothes and my outward appearance was good. Helen, my eldest (we only had the one child at this time), was always happy because we wouldn’t compromise on her care.

Our house, however, looked like a complete hovel. We lurched from one messy day to the next as my wife and I always had better things to do than clear up. If Helen fell ill, the routine fell apart completely and my wife and I would have to work the craziest hours to make up the time or work from home while looking after a poorly child. While I have many happy memories of Helen, it’s not a period of my life I look back on with great fondness and I don’t regret leaving the security of paid employment to become a stay at home dad.

Okay, so there are never enough hours in the day to do the housework. Even so, things are much improved since I took responsibility for the household. We all lead a calmer and slightly more stress free existence.

With this in mind I’m rather pleased to hear that a new panel has been set up to consider how dads can improve their work / life balance. Known as the Dadpreneur Movement, the aim is to find ways to encourage dads to launch their own businesses so they can break free from the nine to five working cycle.

The Movement was the idea of Holly Tucker, founder and president of online retailer Notonthehighstreet.com. Here’s what inspired Tucker to establish the Movement;

“We are keen to champion fathers and the importance of the role that they play at home. Dads are often forgotten and whilst the issue of mums struggling to ‘have it all’ is well known we felt that the issue of dads and their work life balance had been neglected. Through our ‘Dadpreneur Movement’ we want to encourage dads to launch their own flexible, creative business and tap into their passions and hobbies as an alternative to the nine to five.”

Before I go on, there’s one comment I have to make. In the past I have publicly stated my opposition to the phrase mumpreneur and made clear I’d never want to be called a dadpreneur. I’m no fan of either phrase, both of which I consider to be very patronising. I’ll be honest, I think a better name could have been chosen but I support the Dadpreneur Movement’s aims and I hope it is successful in drawing attention to the issue of men trying to have it all. Anyway, back to the matter in hand.

To support the Dadpreneur Movement’s launch, a survey of 1,000 UK fathers was carried out, all of them with children aged 16 and under. It found that that;

  • Six out of every ten dads are only spending quality time with their children at the weekends
  • Long working hours and being “too knackered” stopped them from spending valuable time with the family
  • A further 62% of dads have missed a parents’ evening and
  • Over half have missed out on big milestones in their children’s lives such as first steps, first words and even school awards ceremonies.

The Dadpreneur Movement panel features several interesting characters. Among its members are; Psychotherapist Phil Hodson, a veteran of many TV appearances, working dad, Michelin starred chef and owner of the Berner’s Street Tavern Jason Atherton plus Olympic gold medalist James Cracknell.

Whether the Dadpreneur Movement achieves anything remains to be seen. I am, however, hoping it is at least succesful in getting people talking about this subject.

Photo credit: LaurMG Sourced from Wikipedia. Image reproduced under Creative Commons agreement 3.0. For further information about Creative Commons and a link to the agreement, see my Disclosure page.

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8 Comments

  1. September 16, 2014 / 7:24 am

    I agree with you – it’s an awful name, but I heartily applaud what the movement is trying to achieve. That said, setting up and running your own business is no small feat – especially while trying to look after young children. I speak from bitter experience there! Still, it’s a good idea and I hope it enables more dads to spend time with their families.

    • John Adams
      Author
      September 17, 2014 / 11:13 am

      I’m hoping this Movement draws attention to what many of us dads face. I’m glad it’s being spoken about, regardless of the name.

  2. September 16, 2014 / 12:02 pm

    Your experience sounds similar to our own. We both worked full time and keeping the house in any semblance of order was next to impossible. Becoming a stay-at-home dad has enable us feel in control again. It also removed a good deal of stress from the daily routine which involved rushing to and from work around nursery times. Since being at home, Tilly is consistently in a much better mood in mornings and evenings, meaning my wife can enjoy the family time around work.
    Recognising the dadpreneur movement, regardless of the clunky name, is a step towards supporting dads in family-friendly, flexible roles. And surely it’s a more modern approach to working too.

    • John Adams
      Author
      September 17, 2014 / 11:12 am

      I agree Dan, I think we have to look past the name. It’s not ideal but the movement is looking at a very important issue. We mustn’t loose sight of this!

  3. Kitty
    September 17, 2014 / 1:49 pm

    My partner takes care of our daughter, while working freelance, and I work full-time. It plays to both our strengths, he is far more domesticated than me, and he hates office life while I thrive in it. I will get up at 6am with our daughter, see to her needs and do some domestic chores before waking him up ready to take over while I go to work. We share chores at the weekend. It’s wonderful for our daughter to be raised this way – most importantly she benefits from the fact that we’re on each other’s side. I think a lot more men would love this arrangement but unfortunately, politically there is a lack of will. Politicians talk it, but they don’t support it as they do in the Scandinavian countries. In order for more men to have the opportunity to be the primary carer, we need less of a pay divide so it is not automatically the man that has to be the breadwinner because his partner’s wage won’t cover the bills. We need more affordable houses so that parents together don’t need to run themselves into the ground trying to put a roof over their family. When it comes to flexible working – right now you can request it, and have the best reasons in the world, but your boss can still say no. And finally, society has to stop labelling what is ‘women’s work’. My partner is proud of his ironing skills!! He is not the least weaker for it – he’s very much a man in charge of his own life. If men and women work together to achieve these changes then I feel we would be working towards a better, and fairer society where more men can have the opportunity, if they want it, for the family life my partner has. Well done John, and all the other dads – but remember by supporting social change for women, this will help to change the lives of men too.

    • John Adams
      Author
      September 17, 2014 / 8:43 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Kitty. I’m all for supporting change for women and also men. The idea of what is and isn’t women’s work is just foreign to me. You’re absolutely right, I thin there is a lack of political will to see change beyond the introduction of shared parental leave. I think the new parental leave rules are a magnificent step in the right direction, but they will only go so far in helping men become more involved as fathers.

  4. smudge
    September 20, 2014 / 7:59 pm

    I like to read about other dads doing this as sometimes I feel a bit like i’m the only one, or perhaps thats just because of where iI live.

    anyway, I gave up my professional job three years ago to look after our two children so my wife could go back to teaching. Its tough but every day iI say to myself how great it is compared to the whole work/commute/desk slave existence. Less money yes, more time for us as a family is priceless, especially the school holidays when we all go awol to europe in our old caravan.

    We wouldnt alter our work life balance and I feel that if more people let go of wanting to earn and work more more more in search of happiness then many children and families would be happier…we are!

  5. November 29, 2014 / 4:08 pm

    Totally love this. I’m a full time at home dad (so is my wife). We have 2 girls and I realized after commuting 3+ hours a day that it was just a matter of time that I could need to look for a ‘way out’.

    Finding other dads who understand there’s a lot of value from being at home with the kids and being a primary influence in their lives is great.

    Keep up the great work here
    Darren Hanser
    http://darrenhanser.com/family-first