Father at Ease with F-word - The Sunday Mail

Father at Ease with F-word - The Sunday Mail

MY DARLING husband, it's dinner time, and I've zoomed the girls. You're spooning dinner into bowls, passing the phone between them, mediating disputes and catching spills. They're happy but missing me, and you're there to give big cuddles and remind them that their Mum is doing something special.

But sweetheart, so are you. The conservative political tradition we share has an uncomfortable relationship with the label "feminist".

The more that extreme women treat men like the enemy or wrap themselves in the language of the militant, the further away ordinary people like you and I are from identifying with that tribe.

Yet, what could be more feminist that what you do for our family every day? You are accomplished, senior in your work and with an intellect that challenges and confounds me daily despite over 15 years of marriage. Your honesty, loyalty and love are a privilege to receive, and I hope you can tell how much that is reciprocated. Perhaps this comes down to grappling with what it means to l be a feminist: I was once told there are as many definitions as there are women.

But if being a true feminist means a strong belief that women are different but equally valuable to men, that they have an equally important contribution to make and that our nation is better when they are heard as equals, then my dear, you may well be the ultimate one. Every day you make my contribution to our state and country possible.

With every night you settle the girls while I am on the road, with every lunch you pack and every hastened kindy pickup, you show the depth of your belief and trust in me.

Yet in all the chaos of our over scheduled life - and the few and far between date nights - every joy of our shared adventure comes back to your strength as a father, our strength as a team.

In the moments of seeing our littlest one dance without realising we are watching, of observing our second child's incapacity to withhold giggles whenever she hears good news, or in the intensity of our eldest's questions about life, the universe and everything, I am overwhelmed with the riches of life. They say that a father's love is a glimpse of the divine, a reflection of the creator's love for us all.

In your present parenting, in your gentle masculinity, in your example to our girls every day about what it means to be loved in a healthy, supportive relationship, you are teaching them to accept nothing less than what they are worth.

You're guiding them to ambitiously reach for their wildest goals from a home where they can be confident they are loved and welcome, no matter what.

You make it possible for me to show our girls by example that no path is closed to them and that there is honour in serving others.

You are changing the world. And that, my darling, makes you something that might be regarded by some as unusual for a conservative man. It makes you the best feminist I know.

Happy father’s day.