Hi - my name is Kate; I am a gender expert, writer, and Advisor for the Gender Equality subgroup at Fathering Together. To celebrate Father’s Day and #MoreThanANecktie, I’m talking to 10 dads over 10 weeks about what it really means to be an engaged father. If you like this series, you can read more on gender (in)equality. Website. Twitter.
Location: Nottingham, UK
Ages of Kids: 3 months, 5, 5, 6 and 10
I asked every dad I interviewed what they thought about the term “caregiving” as it relates to being a father.
Razor said that this is a word not widely used in the UK, so far as he knows. And my question was the first time he had heard the word used to describe parenting. His initial reaction was that it sounded a bit demeaning; Razor thinks of himself as a father and is willing to do any job that comes with fathering or fatherhood. But he doesn’t necessarily think of himself as a caregiver.
A lesson learned related to work. Pulling back on his career to make time for his kids was a hard decision for him. But as a DJ he used to work a lot of nights, and travel was essential. And neither of those things are conducive to raising little kids. I asked him if he sometimes missed that old life – and I appreciated his honesty . Sure, he said. How can you not? But even when he feels nostalgic, he has no regrets. And a hug in the middle of the night, or an “I love you” after school always reminds him that he made the right choice.
Advice on blended families. Razor is a dad to his own three biological kids from a previous relationship, and he is a dad-figure to his partner’s two kids, who live with them. We talked a lot about how he manages the relationship with his ex, and his partner’s ex.
One relationship is tense but functional, and Razor and his partner work hard to maintain universal rules that stretch between both households to give the kids consistent support. (Razor explained that it does not work when the other home is a lawless state.) Despite any animosity, the adults can always come to an agreement on what is best for the kids.
The other relationship, however, is more difficult; made harder with a history of trauma. But growing up without a dad himself, Razor knows how empty a kid can feel when they don’t know one of their parents. So, he does his best to facilitate a relationship between his girls and their mom. He admits this is rarely easy, but he knows that cutting off contact with his ex would only hurt the kids in the end. They love their mother no matter what; they do not see her problems and her behavior – they just see their mom. And they very much want her to be part of their lives. So, despite his own feelings about his ex, he does what he has to do to help his girls maintain a relationship with their mom.
If you are visiting this website from the UK and want to connect with other British dads, check out the Fathering Together subgroup for UK Dads.
My favorite quote from Razor’s interview: “If there is one thing I have learned as a dad, it is that I am absolutely able to multi-task.”