Not the Babysitter

In this 4-episode, limited audio series, you’ll hear conversations with men from Central Victoria about their experiences of what it’s like to be a dad, the ways that outdated stereotypes still show up in systems and relationships, and what we might do about it.

In this 4-episode, limited series, you’ll hear conversations with men from Central Victoria about their experiences of what it’s like to be a dad, the ways that outdated stereotypes still show up in systems and relationships, and what we might do about it.

We cover lots of ground:

  • Like the aspirations these dads have for themselves as parents, and how that’s different to what they saw growing up.
  • Some of the dismissive attitudes they’ve encountered when parenting, including in hospitals and parent’s groups.
  • How they’ve found positive role models and other ways to learn parenting skills and break free of outdated stereotypes.

Most Australians agree that both men and women can play a range of roles regardless of their gender, but somehow once the first child arrives, especially in heterosexual couple families, this seems to go out the window.  Work and family arrangements in Australia are still very gendered, with more than 40 per cent of mothers doing part-time paid work, compared to only 4–5 per cent of fathers.

But is this just what mums and dad’s want?

Well, no.

One 2017 study found that all working dads surveyed, even those who described themselves as traditional, wanted more time with their children.

Listen in, as we explore what’s happening in the gap between intentions and reality when it comes to equality in families, and what is helping dads to break free of narrow gender stereotypes.


Theme music is by Michael Huber, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Made on Dja Dja Wurrung country by Women’s Health Loddon Mallee with support from the City of Greater Bendigo and presented by Ella Bourke.

Trailer: Why Do We Need to Have Conversations About Fatherhood and Equality in Families?

About this Episode

Why do we need to conversations about fatherhood and equality in families? Outdated gender stereotypes about men and their capacity to be caregivers are still getting in the way of healthy, respectful and loving relationships – between dads and their children, their partners and with friends and family.

Episode Links:

Episode 1: How Hard Can It Be?

About this Episode

David shares his story of fatherhood, including:

  • the scary moments during the arrival of his son Teddy,
  • the dismissive attitudes he’s noticed when it comes to the skills needed to parent young children, and
  • how mental health support helps him navigate the challenges of fatherhood.

Episode Links:

Episode 2: You’re Not Taught How To Be A Parent

About this Episode

Dallas Widdicombe shares his story of fatherhood including:

  • something that was really tough as a dad when his first child was born, and how he felt unwelcome and unequal
  • why the past is not the past
  • the importance for him of spending time in nature with his children
  • his experiences of racism, and some of the ways he stays connected to and shares Indigenous culture with his children
  • the positive role model he’s found in his father-in-law.

This conversation was recorded on 31 July 2020.

To find out more about Bendigo and District Aboriginal Cooperative, visit

Episode Links:

Episode 3: People Have Just Assumed That We’re Not a Family

About this Episode

Cristean shares his story of fatherhood, including:

  • why being part of a new parents’ group, wasn’t so positive
  • what it’s like for his family to do things that should be simple, like change a nappy at a shopping centre or go out to a cafe
  • why his mum is his greatest role-model for how to be loving, caring and respectful
  • the situation he was in when he found that being gay meant that he had more access to spaces or services than perhaps a heterosexual man in a couple family might.

This episode was recorded on 14 July 2020.

Episode Links

Episode 4: Creating The Space To Hear Somebody

About this Episode

We hear from Damien and Ian, who are both members of Castlemaine Rites of Passage, about their experiences of fatherhood and what the group aims to foster for men, including

  • What the aims are of a rites of passage experience
  • What happens in a mens’ group
  • What impact the experience had on Damien’s relationship and parenting
  • How Ian’s friendship with an opera singer informed his parenting

Episode Links:

  • Castlemaine Rites of Passage — A contemporary, community based rites of passage process to empower men, young and old, with an authentic sense of self and a place within community. This process helps enable boys, and men, to make the fundamental emotional shift from being a child to becoming a man and contribute more positively to the broader community.

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