Everyone benefits when dads and father figures are empowered as caregivers – mums, children, families, employers and society at large. We’re passionate about building a world where diversity is celebrated and the nurturing role of father figures is recognised and respected.
The Big Monster Mashup campaign was borne out of a desire to confront gender stereotyping around fatherhood. We're sharing the message to father-figures across Scotland, to “Be there, be yourself”, to encourage them to celebrate their diversity, to feel supported when discussing their emotions, to feel empowered to embrace a care-giving role, and above all to find joy in the little things - and to be silly! All with the help of My Happy Journal.
The idea of masculine norms can have a big impact on parents' mental health: The assumptions that men should be self-reliant and that wanting support is emasculating; that showing kindness towards themselves and other men is ‘effeminate’; the idea that male success is achieved by being the breadwinner. In addition, granddads, uncles, brothers, stepdads, adoptive parents, LGBT+ parents are often excluded from services or resources for parents, even if they're the main non-birth parent-figure in a child's life. We want to unburden dads of the 'man-up' culture surrounding fatherhood, to feel confident in their own skin, to find the joy in the everyday, to celebrate the small things in life with their children.
That's why we've teamed up with My Happy Journal, a book for children and their parents to use to celebrate and savour the daily memories, encourage communication, laughter, connection and to inspire future adventures. It is filled with ideas for fun activities and can be the springboard to further extraordinary family experiences. It is just launching its family of super fun, lovable monsters to the world (designed by the brilliant Wee Wild Monsters) and we want to share these wee characters with you and to encourage you to create your own. Father figures come in all shapes and sizes, after all!
The competition is open to all children across Scotland, and we would love to see their own illustrations of their own dad Big Monster Mashup. Email or post us your illustration with 5 words to describe the father-figure that inspired the illustration by Friday 11th October. The competition has 5 age categories: Under 2s, 2-4, 5-6, 7-9 and 10+, and two prizes will be awarded to each age group (10 in total). Each winning child will receive a My Happy Journal book and box of My Happy Journal goodies, along with an A3 framed print of his or her illustration. All prizes will be awarded at our Big Monster Pyjama Party in Stirling on Sunday 1st December, or can be posted if participants are unable to attend. You can find full competition Terms and Conditions here.
Please send entries to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Fathers Network Scotland, The Melting Pot, 5 Rose Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PR. Please remember to include your child's name, age and the contact details you would like us to use should we need to get in touch with you regarding your entry.
Fathers Network Scotland is keen to address the positive messages around fatherhood with soon-to-be dads, birth partners and father-figures, to provide them with the confidence to be open and honest about how they’re feeling right at the earliest possible stage. Through our ‘How Are You Dad?’ project we are engaging with midwives and health visitors across Scotland to encourage greater engagement with non-birth parents and support for birth trauma and perinatal mental illness.