Super Dad Can!

25 June 2019

How to become a superdad? Is everybody skilled to grow into one? Which aspects of fatherhood one should pay special attention to? United Nations Population Fund presents a new information campaign “SuperDad Can” that gives fathers all the answers needed.


“Dad can, dad can everything possible…” Do you recall this song for children? After naming all potential dad’s skills, there is a conclusion in the song: dad can do everything, but “he can’t be a mom”.

A funny song still remains a leading motive in the division of responsibilities when it comes to baby care. A dad is accountable for entertainment, whereas upbringing is a mother’s job. Moreover, according to the UNFPA’s research, Ukrainian men spend twice less time with their children than women. 63% of men believe that changing diapers, bathing and feeding a child are exclusively woman’s business. However, overseas this division between man’s and woman’s business has been erasing. Both partners take care of their babies from the first day and both can cope with bathing, changing diapers and upbringing children.


Nordic countries serve as a good example of it. You could hardly surprise somebody with a fact that a man took a parental leave to take care of his newborn. In fact, it is surprising if one did not. In Sweden, for example, maternity and paternity leave was suggested back in 1974. A couple has 16 months of a joint leave, which they divide between themselves. This active engagement of fathers from the very childbirth makes division “mom can do this, and dad can do that” vanish. Scandinavian countries show that both mom and dad are equal partners in the baby care. This is the reason why UNFPA organized an open discussion about responsible fatherhood at this year’s Nordic Night taking place in Kyiv.


So what makes father a good one? “A wish to see his child happy and healthy,” participants of the discussion say. Yet, no father would reject having this wish. Therefore, a good father does not only wish, but also does something to fulfill it. He involves himself in his child’s upbringing from day one, not waiting for his child to go to school, to enter university or to choose whom to marry.


SuperDad can


UNFPA has launched a campaign “SuperDad can” to help fathers become more engaged in their children’s upbringing at all stages. This initiative is a part of a wider project “Happiness in 4 hands”, which UNFPA has been implementing in partnership with the Ministry of Social Policy for the last 4 years. The project is meant to drive attention to the uneven distribution of family responsibilities in Ukraine. Women spend approximately 3.5-4 times more time on family duties than men do.


“SuperDad can” is a series of videos, in which experts talk with famous Ukrainian fathers about responsible fatherhood. Topics of family planning, parental leave, dealing with children’s whims or their gadgets addiction are, inter alia, covered. You can watch videos produced by UNFPA here.


To participate in the baby’s birth

Engagement in a kid’s life is necessary before his/her birth. During the Nordic Night 2019 Artur Logay, a singer and an actor, shared his experience of such engagement. He was a birth partner during his wife’s labour. Now he jokes that 9 months were needed to get ready for 14 hours at the maternity hospital. “You prepare yourself to go to school, to university, right? This requires not less preparation,” a famous dad assures. There are special courses to get ready for labour and future fatherhood that should not be ignored. “A woman is in a critical condition during labour, she is fearful of what will happen. You have to know how to calm her down,” explains Artur Logay, defining it as “a care multiplied by 25”.


Obstetrician-gynecologist Olena Mukhina emphasizes on the importance of father’s participation in the childbirth, underlining that this participation is not limited to only standing nearby. The main man’s role during labour is to support his wife psychologically and to provide her with maximum comfort. “Your child is your mutual project. Thus, you should welcome him/her to this world also together.”


After the childbirth life of a couple essentially changes, and not all of the couples are ready for it. “Appearance of a child, a new family member, brings changes into their relationship. Thus, it is important during this period not to lose the value of a partnership, which they had before. One should always keep in mind to respect his/her partner,” pediatrician Igor Poberezhnyi, a participant of the discussion at Nordic Night 2019, says. Artur Logay from his experience of a young father adds: “We try to make our baby adapt to us, not vice versa. Our love and energy should be enough not only for the child, but for each other as well. We remain loving partners.” A famous father tells more during our talk for the campaign “SuperDad can”. You can watch it here.


To leave an office job for fatherhood


Andriy Melnychuk left his office job and became a freelancer so that he could be with his family after the childbirth. He started studying opportunities for this transfer straight after receiving news about his wife’s pregnancy. Three months before labour he was already with his wife full-time. He still works 8 hours per day, but from home, and can decide himself when exactly to work. “It is very convenient for both fatherhood and solving some household matters,” a young father thinks. Moreover, he feels that it has benefited relationship with his wife and made it level up. “We are basically 24/7 together, and I really like it.” Andriy Melnychuk appears to be the first one in his network who dared to leave an office job and does not regret it. He is assured that no job is worthy as much as being present when your child does a first step. “I can see how my son grows, how he learns to do things. You can sacrifice whatever for it”, he asserts.


Andriy Melnychuk does not share an opinion of 63% of Ukrainian men that changing diapers, bathing and feeding a child is exclusively a woman’s business. “A man can do everything on the same level as his female partner does, except breastfeeding.” He also believes that a common statement that “a man should help a woman with a child’s upbringing” is absolutely incorrect. “Upbringing is the same duty of a man, as it is of a woman. A mom cannot totally compensate a father. He should provide his child with behaviour models and life experience from the very first days. Nobody can replace a dad in this role,” Andriy Melnychuk explains.


Responsible fatherhood starts before a child is born. It begins when a family is planned, when partners attend courses for future parents together, become birth partners and later on divide childcare evenly between themselves. Nordic countries set a good trend to be responsible and mindful parents. However, it is not about following the trend. It is about understanding that the first step, the first word, the first bruise on your child’s knee are those unique moments that will never be repeated. A child is a joint project of both in the couple. Every stage of this project’s accomplishment is important for both. A father can do far more than only play with his baby or conduct educational conversations at his partner’s request. He can become a superdad capable of everything for his child. This is, undoubtedly, the greatest role.