24 years ago my dad was the architect behind an idea that directly impacted a conversation I had the other day.
The conversation was with an American friend visiting Sweden, we were having a coffee, sitting outside in the sun, in the heart of Stockholm. As he turns to me and says: what’s up with all the male nannies? A rather misinformed point of view of course for many reasons, but a testament to how far Sweden has come in the journey towards equality. I explain that I, and all of my male colleagues, are taking extended periods of time off from work as we build our families.
The idea my father had was to allocate a certain share of parental leave to each parent which was voted into Swedish law in 1995.
Except for the fact that this leads to a lot of “stroller-dads” in the streets of Stockholm, it also means dads are taking on a myriad of other roles. Turn to your own grandparents and observe [or try to remember] who was in charge of the kitchen. My bet is that it was your grandmother, if it wasn’t, your grandparents were truly ahead of their times.
Now look at yourself and your extended circle of friends, my gut feeling is that in my generation, there are actually more men at the helm of the oven duties for a weekend dinner with friends. Given women have been in charge of cooking since fire was invented some 400,000 years ago, this is a seriously radical change in such a short period of time.
Fathers still only use 28% of the 480 days of paid parental leave in Sweden (2017), but change is happening really fast (even though it’s popular to say it’s not with regards to equality). And although I fully realize we are moving in the only logical direction and that equality should be absolute, change is always difficult, so on Father’s day this year, on just that one day, turn to your dad or your spouse and say: Thank you, thank you for all your doing.
If you think the father figure in your life is in need of some extra good rest this year, we warmly recommend The Sheet Set, which is a fitted or flat sheet and two pillowcases, crafted from the finest cotton on earth, SUPIMA. It is super smooth, almost silk-like in its texture, yet really breathable.