International Men’s Day (19th November) - the Buckinghamshire super dad quashing a parenting taboo
Bobby Winkelman, from North Marston, is a super dad on a mission; he’s quashing the taboo that bringing up a baby (or three!) is a job for mum. Despite his busy career as Club Director for Milton Keynes Dons, Bobby makes sure he sets aside time every week for one-on-one bonding with his three children – all under three! He’s so committed to this that he takes on an hour-and-a-half-long swimming lesson every week.
Before lockdown restrictions caused lessons to be put on hold, Bobby would take Thea, three, Nova, two, and Joseph, seven months, to their Water Babies swimming lesson at Bucks Best Western every Thursday morning. Although he is sure that there are many dads, like him, who see the value in setting aside regular alone time with your children, Bobby feels there is a real taboo around fathers planning fun family activities.
“Even in 2020, there’s still this misconception that women raise the children and men go to work,” said Bobby. “I’m proud to be able to do both. Personally, I think getting the balance between work and home commitments is so crucial. I’m a real believer in parenting being an equal responsibility and, yes, that means men can take their children to swimming, ballet or cricket lessons!
“Thursday morning is the highlight of my week, purely because I get so much satisfaction out of seeing Thea, Nova and Joseph thriving in their swimming lessons. It’s also really interesting to witness their development at different levels of the programme. Swimming is such an important skill for children to learn and something my mum made sure I was comfortable with from a very young age; I wanted to replicate that for my own children. I cherish the time I get to spend with them in the water and wouldn’t change it for the world.”
The family, who welcomed their youngest, Joseph, the day before the March lockdown, have also found that their weekly lessons have helped them to maintain some sort of routine during such an unusual year. Although sessions are temporarily on hold, Bobby can’t wait to get back in the pool.
“It’s been a tough few months – both my wife, Sarah, and I, have had COVID which has been difficult to manage around looking after the children. I’m feeling much better and very much looking forward to picking up where we left off with our last sessions!”
Owner of Water Babies Bucks and Beds, Tamsin Brewis, is keen to celebrate the local dads who, like Bobby, make the most of some all-important downtime with their children.
“Although it’s usually mums who take their little ones to our swimming lessons, we do still see a number of dads coming along to the pool and getting in on the action,” said Tamsin. “It’s wonderful to see and something I’m really passionate about encouraging. I know this isn’t an option for some families but with our sessions only running for half an hour, this is the perfect interlude to a busy working day. Thank you, Bobby, for sharing your story; a real inspiration for other lovely dads out there who might be considering taking more time out of their day for their children.”
For more information about Water Babies Bucks and Beds, visit www.waterbabies.co.uk/lp/baby-swimming/bucks-and-beds
To speak with Bobby Winkelman or Tamsin Brewis, contact Kelly Ayres at Rev PR on 07895 876745 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Images available: Multiple hi-res photos of Bobby in the swimming pool with his children.