De Goede Huisvader? Yes, these words are Dutch. They mean as much as The Good House Father or The Good paterfamilias. Whatever your definition is, it is probably the same as it is for me (Harm Jagerman). I am a father of two children and married to a Scientist. I started writing about my life as a full-time house father in 2014. First in Dutch. In 2018 I decided to also write in English. First I thought it was a good idea to write on another website – The Digital Life of Harm. As I wrote more on the Dutch website, I decided to combine these two websites.
In 2014 I decided to share my stories with the rest of the world. Not that I live such an interesting life. It was meant to show that role patterns can change or can be different. I live in a modern country. Sometimes it still feels that we live in the Fifties of the past century. Something hasn’t changed. Take for instance the possibilities for women to start or expand a career. That’s why I decided to start De Goede Huisvader.
No, I wasn’t always the one who stayed at home. There were times that I worked full time. This changed after my son was born (2008). I decided to stay at home on one day in the week. This was very important to me. I didn’t want to stand in the way of the career of my partner. I believe in equality and she should have the same opportunities as me.
De Goede Huisvader is my way to tell everyone who is interested what’s it all about. The world of a father who takes care of the children and plans his own business activities around them. That is what I am.
After the birth of our daughter (2011), our lives changed. I worked in a large hospital in the Dutch city Leiden and was involved with the digitalisation of the archives of this hospital. Day-care for the children became a problem. I decided to apply for parental leave, but it was refused by my employer. They offered me a chance to work 24 hours instead of 32. Still, they wanted me to perform the same tasks as always.
Working 24 hours and performing the same tasks as if I was employed full time didn’t work. I was diagnosed with a burn-out. This was the third time in my life that I was diagnosed with a burn-out. Of all the three burn-outs, this was the most difficult one. I decided, together with My Scientist, that I would submit my resignation.
In 2014, I became a photographer and a father who stayed home. I worked on a freelance basis and I got some nice assignments and got to meet new customers. People even asked me to develop websites for them. This was all very nice, but a part of me felt like something wasn’t finished yet. Didn’t I stop with my work because something was holding me back? I decided, again after long talks with My Scientist, that it should be time for me to work for a boss. This blog was paused.
In 2015 it became clear that our son needed more attention. Highly intelligent was the diagnose he got, together what that of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSS). That last part he ‘developed’ because he was intensely bullied at his first school. We decided that he needed to change school and he was admitted to a Waldorf school in Leiden. This offered possibilities. Unfortunately, he was forced to switch schools and went to a school for children with special needs. His sister attended the same Waldorf school as he did and she remained at this school. My first employer after my burn-out showed no consideration for my personal situation. The second employer – as of 2016 – was more open, but it was still a big problem to change my working schedule every now and then. In 2017 I decided not to renew my contract, based on the conversations we had at home. I was, again the father who stayed home and took care of the children. I also started writing (not only for this website, also freelance assignments and my poetry project: The Ministry of Poetic Affairs). I described myself from that day as The photographing and writing father.
I believe in equality. It doesn’t matter if this concerns political beliefs, religion or the emancipation of “groups.” There should be equality. That is why I took on the role of an ambassador as it comes to changing role patterns and the part that a father should perform in the upbringing of the children. I gave several interviews about this subject, including for the Dutch television. You can check out all the appearances I made in the media on this page.
If you want me to explain why I believe in equality, I will do this. I am not afraid to discuss this subject and related subjects. Do contact me about the possibilities.
Of course, I am not a good house father or paterfamilias. It’s a wink. Yes, I am a father and I am the one who takes care of the children. It’s a constant battle that I fight with toys that never seem to be in place, I can have moments of joy when folding laundry (not) or any other of the household chores. Chores that can be done by men too! Unfortunately, that is not how everyone sees it (both women and men). A man is supposed to go to work, while the woman stays at home. Something that makes me laugh out very loud!
There are a lot of things I can do for you! Take the testing of products for instance. I will do this for you or your company. Or plan a photoshoot on location. Is there something you want me to write, then contact me. More information: www.harmjagerman.com.