When did role play, become playing Mum instead of Marvel or D.C. characters? Mums are the real superheroes and dads, have for long periods played the proverbial role of the side kick, aka Robin aka Dick (draw your own conclusions).
Now we've gone through some iterations of the man; modern man, metrosexual, hipster dads. I just prefer Dad or as my Little Rae says "Papa". As boys, the image of dad has been portrayed in so many different ways through worker, provider and enforcer "You wait till your dad gets home!"
Now growing up I had my very own superhero who's still flying (albeit a little slower) and showing me the way and how to become a better dad/papa. See, I grew up without my dad, but had a wonderful stepdad who taught me a lot, God rest his soul 🙏🏾 and have fantastic male role models around me. But I never really understood what it is to be Papa. And nobody can teach you, every experience is different but there are commonalities that bond us as the role of the sidekick. Every child wants their mum, every scream/scrape in the playground you always hear "Mummy!!" And honestly I get a little jealous. I'm here too.
Maybe it's because I tried to play all those stereo typical roles as the provider, enforcer, worker, but something was missing. What am I missing..?
Now to the role play. What I really mean by role play is the idea that dad can be mum and papa, my superhero played the role expertly (I turned out ok, a little curious perhaps but) can dads play the role of mum, what was missing from my skill set. Surely, all I have to do is provide and they will love me just the same as mummy. Not so! Until recently it's been hard but something clicked when we had our daughter. I felt empathy and compassion, I had gained emotions and feelings that I had never felt before. I wanted to listen to my son, reason with him verses shouting and being the disciplinarian. Children look to you for guidance and support they are impressionable and take on your traits. So playing mum and dad suddenly became harder, life became more stressful. Were the emotions that I've buried for so many years all pouring out of me making me less of a man? No, they were making me complete. Realising what is important in your life! Yes working, providing etc are all still needed but the love, compassion and emotional side turn you from sidekick to partner.
As I sit here lying on the floor my feet resting on my son's, we are both on our screens but there is a connection there and I will always be there when I'm needed like any good superhero aka mum/dad/parents.
Being a dad for me has changed!! I'm not working full time, I'm enjoying time with the kids, they grow so fast and I don't want to miss out on these key development years. You may work and provide, but being at the school gates and seeing the smiles on their faces just encourages me everyday that I'm on the right mission.
I'm playing a new role now and as we know the bad guy never wins.
New Heroes shot by Chris Ward-Jones