What role do fathers play?
Being the family issue, I caught up with the Blokes About Town over a delicious lunch at Green Zebra, Kawana for their take on how the role of fatherhood has changed since their father’s generation and how they achieve a work/life balance with both parents working.
Gone are the days when Dad did the nine-to-five and Mum stayed home to run the household and care for the children. These days, often both partners work outside the home resulting in dads having to chip in when it comes to doing their fair share of the domestic duties. But despite the fact that more women are bringing home a pay packet, with one-in-four claiming the status of the main breadwinner, research suggests women are still doing the lion’s share of the housework. So I thought it only fair to give the lads a chance to share their thoughts on the matter and what I discovered might surprise you! Joining me for lunch was Craig Levitt, Marketing Manager with Think Money; Chris Sales, owner of Luxe Commercial Real Estate, Scott Roberts, owner of IBN Direct and Premier Speakers and Events; Lyell Cochrane, Finance Manager with Think Money and Adrian Schulz, owner of Diamonds of Distinction, Buderim.
profile: How different is your role as a father/husband compared to your father?
adrian: It’s definitely more of a shared role these days and both partners have to chip in where they can. Dads seem to be stepping up and are willing to do a lot of things that traditionally they wouldn’t have.
scott: I came from a single parent home without a father, so my mother worked for as long as I can remember, she was gone before school and got home after I did. These days, I have the ability to see my young fella every day. Sometimes I drop him off to school or come home after school so I can spend time with him. I balance that by working at night when he goes to bed. I believe part of the work/life balance has come about because we are so internet savvy and we can work from anywhere now, our ancestors didn’t have that luxury.
lyell: I am the youngest of nine and Dad worked away from home so Mum brought us up. Dad always taught us we had to contribute. We had to iron and cook, otherwise we wouldn’t survive. I guess my children learned that from watching me, I would always help with housework and they did it too. My wife Maree still did much more than me and still worked and ran the household.
Dad always taught us we had to contribute. We had to iron and cook, otherwise we wouldn’t survive.” - Lyell cochrane
profile: Are women still doing a larger proportion of household chores and childcare despite working outside the home?
lyell: Yes I think so. Maree has always run the household. I just think she is doing such a great job I don’t want to ruin it! (laughs). It’s definitely in a woman’s DNA to nurture. I do have a nurturer in me but not close to what Maree as a mother, has.
scott: I agree. My wife Fiona is our chief operating officer at IBN Direct and does more in the Premier Speakers and Events business than I do, yet she still cooks every night and runs the house and cares for our son most of the time.
chris: I think it’s different with the younger generations. I was raised in a traditional Catholic family where Mum was at home and Dad worked his butt off to put us all through private schools. I think this generation probably splits it down the middle more and perhaps that is because mums are also working. Although Mum and Dad have been together 33 years, so they have done something right.
craig: It’s interesting because I grew up in an environment like Chris. My mum didn’t work from the day they got married and my dad worked a corporate job. But interestingly I do most of the cooking at home. My wife Lynn works longer hours than me so I pick the kids up when she is still at work. So I’m probably 20 years ahead of my time!
chris: So that proves that it’s not always a generational thing then.
adrian: I think there is just more of an equalisation of roles. Women have traditionally done a lot more than just their half. I know some guys work long hours but if you have to come home and do all the chores your wife has done, that’s a hell of a long day. Staying at work an extra three hours is a lot easier. Guys are chipping in more and that’s a good thing. My wife is enjoying having a balance of being at home and at work because stress at work is a completely different kind of stress to stress at home with kids. It’s only fair to do a bit of both. It’s heading in the right direction.
profile: Do you have a good work/life balance?
scott: I think I do. Better than I did when I was working from home. I would get up in the morning and walk from the bed to the computer and start working until dinner time and then get back on after dinner. Half the time I would eat dinner in front of the computer and keep working. Now I make sure I play golf a couple of times a month. We try to get away for short breaks too and spend time as a family. We make it a priority.
craig: I believe sometimes it’s quality versus quantity. Even when I was commuting to Brisbane daily, I would tear up the highway just to make it to a school presentation or something like that. That was always important to me. I knew I couldn’t be there all the time but the important thing is when you are there you have to really be there, be present. So often we are there but our mind is somewhere else. With technology I can be at work and send my daughter a text telling her I love her, 20 years ago I couldn’t have done that.
adrian: I think it’s important to know when to switch off. We don’t work Sundays, no matter what is on. I really try to manage my week better leading up to the weekend and schedule my jobs so I can have the weekend with my family. In all honesty Sonja does most of the household stuff and is with the children the majority of the time but she really enjoys the balance of working in the store three days during school hours.
profile: Craig, as a life coach and mentor how do we find the perfect life balance?
chris: I’m going to take notes because I definitely don’t have it.
craig: Ok I am going to start this with, do as I say not do as I do! Two things. You have to set some goals because without setting goals you don’t have a focus. If your goal is to spend quality time with your kids or help out at home, you need that intent. But really it comes down to follow through. If you really want it you can do whatever you want to. In every moment you have a choice. It’s very simple in theory but putting it into practice is not so easy.
chris: Yes I agree. A goal has to be tangible. I heard one recently, “I want to be rich”. That’s not a goal but five million in three years is.
craig: You have to have a measurable goal too. You might ask yourself on a scale of one-to-10 where do I sit as a dad and where do I want to be? We have to set a measure as a benchmark. It can’t always be a dollar amount. I don’t know anyone who has achieved what they want without a goal and that applies as much when it comes to being a great dad, husband and friend.
GREEN ZEBRA RESTAURANR & BAR, PARREARRA
Perched on the water’s edge, with views towards beautiful Double Bay, Green Zebra Restaurant & Bar was bustling on the day of our visit – its stunning location and delicious menu proving to be popular among diners.
Green Zebra prides themselves on supporting local suppliers and the eatery has become well known for its delicious modern Australian menu using the freshest local produce where possible. Every dish is prepared by expert chefs, who are passionate about delivering a sumptuous menu composed of simple and classic combinations.
We enjoyed the premium lunch set menu; entrees included a choice of stuffed mushrooms with cream cheese, bacon, parmesan, garlic, shallots and parsley; arancini of buffalo mozzarella and smoked bacon, with chive sour cream; smoked paprika and sea salt calamari with harissa aioli and chargrilled halloumi with salsa verde and lemon. I can vouch for the stuffed mushrooms, which is a house favourite and judging from the reviews of the other dishes from around the table every dish was just as good.
For main I couldn’t go past the pan fried potato gnocchi and wild mushrooms. Other choices included crispy skin free range chicken breast; slow roast Kingaroy pork belly, and wild caught North Queensland barramundi.
Despite the generous servings, I could not resist the delectable desserts. The bowen mango sundae consisting of meringue, vanilla bean ice cream, mango coulis and roasted macadamias was to die for! I also had a sneaky taste of the Belgian chocolate brownie with chocolate fudge sauce, double cream and macadamia ice cream, which was wickedly good.
Green Zebra is a fabulous venue for breakfast, lunch and dinner and an ideal venue for corporate events, birthday parties, engagement parties and weddings.
Green Zebra Restaurant & Bar
5 Grand Parade, Parrearra • Phone: 5438 8466