I’m guessing by now, everyone reading this will likely have seen the video recently doing the rounds of the Korean politics expert being interviewed by the BBC, and said interview being invaded by his two children and frantic wife. If not you can watch it here
To me, this was a great example of the difficulties of balancing the home and work life. I’m sure most parents who have had to work from home and found their children disrupting everything by interrupting at an inappropriate moment. Indeed, I remember getting in trouble when my dad was on the phone to his soon-to-be boss, and us three kids decided it would be fun to eavesdrop – as you could do back in the days of multiple handsets of the one household landline. (Ah, those were the days!)
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The dad in this video has had a lot of criticism come his way since it went viral. Many people telling him how he should have reacted. I must admit it didn’t seem comfortable with me how he pushed his eldest daughter the way he did, but who am I to say how I would have reacted in just that situation. Having done a weeks work experience in the BBC news department back in 2001 I know what goes into one of those live link ups. Though I know technology has moved on in the sixteen years since then, I’m sure there is still a lot of waiting around, time which the person sat on camera has to fixate on the fact they are about to go live to millions of people. I don’t know, but it is possible that this was the first time this man had done such a broadcast. Either way, this would have been a big deal for him, and his mind would have been so focused on the interview, I am sure he wasn’t playing his a-game in terms of fathering.
There was one particular criticism of mockery that really angered and disappointed me, though, and that was a parody video seemingly demonstrating how a mother would have reacted in the same situation. Needless to say, this mother was practically Wonder Woman, even at one point defusing a bomb. (you can view the video here)
Don’t get me wrong I found this video funny along with a number of other parodies out there of youtube. But there was a particular message this parody was preaching that frustrated me. As it seemed to suggest that a mother would have reacted better under the pressure of that situation than the father actually did. (Though, of course, it could be argued the mother in the original video reacted worse than the father did.)
Parenting is not a competition, it is a partnership. It is not the job of a woman to prove their gender is better at parenting than men. We at the point of building a culture that celebrates fatherhood, and values the contribution they make to raising children. This doesn’t mean that they are taking anything away from women, so we should not take pot-shots at the fathers who slip up – or any mothers who slip up for that matter.
To truly build a culture of empowered parenting we need to celebrate the collaborative work parents do and try not to bring gender-wars anywhere near it. After all, what will that teach our children?
Watch a follow interview with the whole family here
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