Guest Blog: notnow Collective

Kristina Gavran of notnow Collective talks about the lack of fair opportunities for mothers and fathers and how we can improve this situation. You can catch The Fatherhood Project on Tue 21 March as part of Sprint 2017. Book your tickets now.

Why do we want to talk about fatherhood….

I am, at the moment, a stay-at home-mum/self-employed-artist and co-director of notnow Collective. My partner, the father, is the breadwinner. He leaves our house every morning at 7.30am when baby and I are still asleep. He is back by 6pm. That is 10.5 hours being away from us.

While notnow Collective was developing our first show Wonderwoman: The Naked Truth which was focused on the issues of motherhood, I had many discussions with my partner about equal parenting, equal opportunity to work, equal responsibilities in housework. It is the 21st century, most of the men in our society will agree that these topics are important. I have to admit, becoming a mum was a big shock for me. I didn’t know things would change so much and that I would have to make so many compromises. Yet, in all the discussions, I was focused on…me. On my problems, my dreams that I had to give up, my fight for equality.

He is sending me a message from his office “I miss you both. Send me his photo in that cute new dress.”

When he comes home, he has 2.5 hours with his baby before sleep time. So…Let’s talk about equality. He wants more time with his baby, I want more time to work. Should be easy. Or is it? The fact is, our equality or lack of it is influenced by work arrangements and company policies. My partner got 2 weeks paternity leave and that was it, back to work like nothing happened, like you don’t have a new member of the family at home who needs you and you need him. While companies are sometimes willing to negotiate with mothers to work part time, for fathers they don’t have the same understanding. Can we really escape the traditional roles or is it just selling us this fake dream that we can have it all? And creating frustration when we realise we just can’t.

We started developing The Fatherhood Project because we wanted to question everything we have been told.

Just like Wonderwoman, the new project is personal to us. We are struggling to find answers, so we decided to play with questions – theatre becomes a playful test space where we can make fun and joke about things that normally upset us, where we can talk to the audience about things that nobody wants to say out loud.

How much do we trust fathers when it comes to children? Do we constantly give them advice and leave them with endless lists of tasks they should do while we are away? Are fathers in our society
seen as “babysitters” to their own children? Where is true equality for them?

notnow Collective is collaborating with two actor-fathers. Or should I say father-actors? They got the role because they have kids (hopefullt they will buy them some chocolates as a thank you note). We started notnow Collective because we wanted to explore how we can continue a career in the arts after becoming mothers, now we want to give the opportunity to two fathers to work and integrate their caring responsibilities into their work. The rehearsal room can be full of kids, some moments are hard, some moments are super fun. Especially when we are working on our stage-fight scenes. Superheroes armed with vacuum cleaners in the battlefield. I’ll say no more. Come and see the show! | @notnowCollectiv