Why women need Fathers Day

first_imgThe ugly tie. The useless gadget. The misshapen clay ashtray for the man who doesn’t smoke.Father’s Day can be a wonderful time to acknowledge the men who raise us, and inspires lovely celebrations around the globe each year. However, there’s no question that as a holiday, it’s been the butt of jokes over the years, and is often a pale imitation of the Mother’s Day behemoth. In Costa Rica, this imbalance is particularly clear: One parent gets an official national holiday in her honor, and the other does not. Mother’s Day clogs the streets with traffic, sells out the stores and restaurants, inspires seasonal hiring – in sort, shuts down the country like a boss.I mentioned this in conversation recently with a Costa Rican dad.“Well, that’s because mothers are more important,” he said. He sounded slightly resigned, but also matter-of-fact.This is a problem.Before any death threats ensue, I’m not taking issue with Mother’s Day. The tremendous attention given to Mother’s Day in Costa Rica is a testament to the country’s overall love of family, something I deeply admire. Plus, I’m a mother. Mothers are amazing. Mothers, particularly those who confront the extraordinary challenges of single moms, foster moms, grandmas working overtime and so on, deserve as much pomp and celebration as possible. Breakfast in bed? Hand-made cards? A massage and flourless chocolate cake? Sorry, I’m drooling. Bring it on.But you know what else moms deserve? A proper Father’s Day. Because while mothers will always have a special role in society – biologically, culturally, inevitably, wonderfully – a world in which dads are dismissed, or dismiss themselves, as less important, is not the best world for dads or moms. When we put a mother on a pedestal, she’s all alone up there.“Fifty/fifty parenting” is a buzzword now in some circles. I don’t care for that term myself, just because it suggests splitting tasks straight down the middle, which is generally impractical. In parenting, as on an assembly line, specialization is key, and worry about total fairness can be more trouble than it’s worth. A New York Times article recently explored the uniquely heavy burden of organization, planning and worry that moms tend to shoulder; I feel it makes more sense to accept that fact and compensate for that imbalance in other aspects of the relationship. Maybe the one who doesn’t remember where the blue socks are and track all the vaccines takes out more trash and does more dishes. (That’s a charming Father’s Day card right there.)Maybe the idea should be “all-in parenting,” meaning that each parent is willing and able to do just about anything, even if duties are a moving target. As women have increasing access to education and professional opportunities, and as flexible work arrangements become more common, the tasks of parenthood will more often be shared and divided in shifting ways over the course of a child’s life – not always evenly, but in the way that makes most sense for the family at the time, and gives parents the best options.I’m not saying this is better than a setup in which he works, she stays home. That clearer division of labor can work beautifully. It’s just not realistic for many families today, and a more flexible approach, while challenging and confusing, has its own rewards.In a dance like that, a dad is a full partner. He is not “helping” or, even worse, “babysitting.” He deserves a seat on the bus when he gets on with his baby in a carrier, not funny looks, something I have complained about before. He, and all good dads, are much more than the remote-control shaped cookies on the cover of a Father’s Day ad supplement we received at our house recently (we love you, dad; you’re great at watching TV). Making him a second-class citizen makes no sense in 2015.An all-in equal partnership like the one described here might be a reality for only a tiny fraction of families today, but shouldn’t our holidays be a bit like the old saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”? Shouldn’t they reflect our aspirations as well as our realities? If we fully believe in the power of fatherhood, shouldn’t our Father’s Day reflect that?We are more than our holidays, of course. Sure, these are marketing ploys, designed to get us to buy flowers and chocolates and, apparently, remote-control-shaped cookies. Families are free to ignore them altogether, or to celebrate them in any way they choose, creating their own equality.But the national narrative about mothers and fathers does matter, especially to young couples just starting out and kids watching from the wings. The more companies and markets and opinion-makers can shift that narrative, as some have done in Costa Rica this year, the better off all parents will be. I would even suggest that Costa Rica consider giving Mother’s and Father’s Day equal legal status.Because what two-parent families really need is a pedestal built for two.(From up here you can really see how much Play Doh is ground into the carpet.Eww, you’re right. It’s all crusty, too. We’re gonna have to scrape it out with a spatula.I’ll flip you for it.Heads or tails?) 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Dancers from the internationally renowned Bolshoi

first_imgDancers from the internationally renowned Bolshoi Ballet and classical superstar Katherine Jenkins staged the world’s first ballet and musical performance in the air, to celebrate the launch of British Airways’ Dreamliner flights from London Heathrow to Moscow, Russia.Lucky passengers on the inaugural flight of the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner were taken to new heights with an incredible, surprise performance by Artemy Belyakov and Olga Marchenkova, stars from the legendary Bolshoi Theatre of Russia.The dancers were accompanied by one of Britain’s favourite singers, Welsh Mezzo soprano Katherine Jenkins OBE, who gave a spine-tingling rendition of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’.Artemy Belyakov, the leading soloist from the Bolshoi Theatre, said: “We are honoured to be a part of this very first flight to Moscow and unite the heart and soul of classical Russian culture with an iconic British brand such as British Airways in this performance on board. We loved the creative challenge of using the new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner as our stage, and the experience was as memorable for us as it was for the audience”.“Being a part of the oldest ballet theatre in the world, dancers from the Bolshoi Ballet have performed in some incredible places over the past 240 years – but ballet in the sky takes it to a whole new level! I enjoyed that experience,” adds Olga Marchenkova, ballet dancer from The Bolshoi.Speaking after the performance, Katherine Jenkins said: “Such fun to be invited to perform for the first time at 41,000 feet ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ en route to Moscow on board BA’s new Dreamliner. I have always been excited to sing in Russia due to its deep and rich history in the arts, and performing alongside dancers from the Bolshoi Ballet was a very special experience for me.”Dancers from The Bolshoi Ballet and Katherine Jenkins were joined by Galina Karzova, British Airways’ Commercial Manager for Russia. Galina Karzova commented: “This launch is a huge step for British Airways, and reinforces our continued commitment to our London to Moscow service. The introduction of the new first cabin on the route means customers can travel in unrivalled luxury and style.”The new First cabin is a first for British Airways’ B787 fleet, with just eight seats in comparison to the 14 seats available on other British Airways long-haul aircraft, offering customers even greater exclusivity and privacy.The 787-9 flight into Moscow operates weekly from 1 November 2016, increasing to twice-weekly from 3 January 2017. To celebrate the launch, a return fare in World Traveller starts from £168 per person, for bookings made before 10 November 2016.British Airways’ first 787-9s started flying in October 2015. There are currently 14 787-9s in service, on routes between London Heathrow and Austin, Boston, San Jose (California), Shanghai and Narita (Japan), amongst others.last_img read more