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DAD is the timely new book from Elliott Rae and Music.Football.Fatherhood that sees men talk about different facets of fatherhood.
A new book offers to tell the ‘untold stories of fatherhood, love, mental health and masculinity.’
DAD was put together by Elliott Rae, the brains behind the Music.Football.Fatherhood (MFF) community.
Elliott Raised £10,000 in a matter of weeks last year when he launched the crowdfunder to cover the publication costs for DAD. That showed the public appetite for a book covering all the different facets and experiences of fatherhood.
Elliott set up MFF as a way of processing his own feelings around becoming a dad. Soon many other fathers flocked to the site to share their stories and have open conversations around parenting.
The book has grown from that. “I realised that the role of father has changed massively over the last decade and more needs to be done to support the dads around us,” explains Elliott. “We are at the forefront of a global movement to change the narrative around fatherhood and allow for a deeper, more honest conversation amongst families, colleagues and friends.”
The book contains 20 chapters. Each one sees a different dad tell their story.
Elliott describes the stories as “raw, brave and deeply moving.” He said, “I cried reading the stories. I laughed reading the stories. But most of all I was relieved. Relieved that so many men were proud to be part of the movement to help us be more open about our fatherhood experiences.”
Among the different experiences covered in the book there are chapters on bringing up a son with autism, parenting in an interracial relationship, divorce, miscarriage and building a friendship with your children.
A number of the chapters relate directly to working dads. Sam Draper shares his experience of taking shared parental leave and ended up as a stay at home dad. While William Nicholson wrote a provocative account of being bullied as a new dad when he worked in the City.
Elliott Rae himself pens a chapter recounting his own experience of trauma. He explains how he’s grown through it and how it’s informed his approach to parenthood.
Fundamentally DAD seeks to challenge stereotypes about what it means to be a dad. And to encourage new thinking on the role fathers can and ought to take.
Elliott writes in the introduction to the collection, “As a collective we need to do more to challenge gendered parenting roles. We need to make sure our workplaces are inclusive, both mothers and fathers are considered when policies are developed and that both parents have the option to live and work in a way that best suits their families. We need to move away from the concept that caring is for women and being the main breadwinner is for men. Those outdated stereotypes are damaging for everyone: men, women and children. We need to make equal parenting the norm by challenging the messaging around fathers in the media and demanding better from our workplaces and government.”
DAD was largely written and put together through lockdown. That’s recognised in the opening chapter. James Cooke tell his story of how the pandemic affected his partner’s pregnancy and labour. And Elliott recognises that the book is published at a couple of crucial moments.
First of all, it’s out just in time for Father’s Day!
Secondly, there’s the challenges and opportunities that the pandemic and the end of lockdown presents. “It is an important time for defining how the role of the dad will look for many years to come and we should all participate in a national conversation to move forward and see change.”
As we know at workingdads, men sharing their stories can be powerful drivers of change. That’s why we came on board as a community partner for the DAD book. Our details featuring among a range of resources for dads included in the book.
Said Elliott, “These are ordinary men being extraordinary by sharing their story with the world.”
You can buy DAD direct here