EARLSFIELD — There’s a Caffe Nero on the high street here where I take refuge on Saturday morning while waiting for kids’ activities to finish. This morning I have counted 15 dads and babies. Other days I have seen more.
There’s no special club or association as far as I know.
It’s just that Saturday morning in South West London hardened moms seem to get up and say: “Take the child and get out! And don’t come back for at least a few hours.”
So the place is over-run. The dads seem to come in pairs or small groups. They’re not all younger than me. But they’ve all got babies under 2 and enough courage to at least pretend to have an intelligent conversation with another dad while actually looking after their kids. (These aren’t the dads of even 10 years ago. They know how to look after their kids.)
And judging by the conversations these dad’s are only moonlighting in child care. They’re deep in the heart of organisations on a week day.
So men have less available time these days. They aren’t on the golf course or meeting colleagues at the pub. They’re not members of dinner clubs or the Rotary. They’re not even getting up early to play footie. Unless it’s with a toddler. And that’s a deep societal change.
It means the working weekends, 12-hour days, 5-day travel schedules are going to be resisted more and more. ‘Family friendly’ policies may sound hokey and American, but they’ll be coming to you soon enough.