This Christmas when you are faced with endless syrupy pictures of pristine mothers preparing wonderfully festive feasts I would like you, if you don’t mind, to think of the other side. We were brought up with the idea of hard working men toiling all day to fund the warmth of a house and family but, let’s be fair, those days are long gone.
I am a father who, by choice of career, spent his children’s formative years working away from home. Let’s be clear about this, I worked away from home because my trade called me away and I have been bred never to claim welfare, what I have done I have done for my family. So working away, what does it mean? Come on you know the “answer”, everyone does, nonstop beer, steak and expense claims after all that’s what guys do right? But the truth is far from that, we really know what we are missing and it hurts.
Society has adapted to women working and now sees childbirth as them giving up this independence but society has not yet caught up with the idea that fatherhood is also an emotional experience . Those bars that you all know we spend our weeks in, oh its true, we’re talking about our children and our families. As we approach Christmas and you hear all the radio trash you will doubtless hear “driving home for Christmas”, just at this moment I would like you to spare thought for two types of fathers.
The first is your man who is not driving home for Christmas, as the song would have us believe everyone is, this man is heading to his hotel. It’s a special hotel because, contrary to popular belief, few do Christmas night. Many is the time I’ve had to use corporate loyalty to grab a room at Christmas, it’s only a room nobody stretches to staff for the bar or food on the day itself.You won’t be able to spot these guys, they look just like you, it’s just that they are heading away from home.
The second is your man who is driving to a solitary home, no longer the family one. By nature of the fact that I have said he is driving home I should have discounted the shysters and those that duck responsibility, I am referring to the real men. These guys have worked to provide the family bird the same as every year, they have ensured a bountiful pile under the tree, they have done all of the normal things. But they won’t see the delight on children’s faces on the special morning although they will work hard to deliver a happy smile when they get their visit/call/message.
I don’t wish to apportion blame or criticise in this post, that is not its purpose. I have been both men and I just think it would be nice to reflect on those that don’t have the luxury of a family Christmas this year after all dad’s are parents to.