Maxim Bîrsan: ‘The stereotype that mom does the cleaning and dad brings in the money is no longer valid’
10 November 2022
Maxim Bîrsan is 35 years old and is a strong promoter of responsible fatherhood.
He lives in Strășeni. Together with his wife Cristina, they are raising two children - Laura (9 years old) and Aaron (3.5 years old).
The Bîrsans have been together for 11 years. They have chosen to be a different family than many other couples, and are continuously learning how to be good parents. While in many families it is the mother who takes care of the children and the father who is primarily responsible for making money, the Bîrsans share all the obligations equally.
Maxim is never afraid to cook. At home he bakes pies and roasts potatoes, especially when his wife is busy with other chores. He's also the one who makes canned food for the winter, vacuums the house and goes to the market.
‘There is no such thing as men's work and women's work. There are no professions exclusively for men or professions exclusively for women. In our house everyone is committed to doing what they can and as much as they can. We also talk a lot. This way we avoid any misunderstandings,’ he says.
Cristina fully shares these views. She believes that there is no room for violence or arguments in a family that fosters communication and cooperation.
‘We grew up in a violence-free environment, we were allowed to choose our professions freely. We educate our children together. We are not perfect, we have bad days, days when we don't feel well, but always the other parent steps in and takes control’, she says.
The way Maxim and Cristina share roles at home and the way they educate their son and daughter are admired by all their acquaintances and family friends, the couple admits. ‘Don't cry, you're a man’, ‘Behave yourself, you're a girl’ - these are phrases you never hear in the Bîrsan family.
‘We're not raising Laura as a princess, we don't want her to imagine the world is perfect. When Aaron cries because he hits himself, I don't try to inhibit his crying, so we don't raise an adult who doesn't know how to express his emotions,’ says Cristina.
Since 2020, Maxim has been an active member of the Fathers' Club - an initiative developed by UNFPA and UN Women, with the support of the European Union. Every month, together with other men from Straseni, they get together to talk about what kind of fathers they are. They talk about how they are involved in raising and educating their children, what works for them and what they still need to practice. The Fathers' Club has helped Maxim become an even more engaged parent, and has also helped him resolve most of the parenting dilemmas he's had lately.
‘When Laura was born, my husband was at the beginning of his career. In addition, he also worked as a dancer at weddings. He was often away from home and regretted it enormously. I understood that he was working for our well-being, and I couldn't blame him for having me change more diapers. Since he attends these clubs, he always wants to try something in practice. He talks to Laura a lot more often, on various topics’, Cristina says smiling.
"The Fathers' Club is extremely helpful to me as a parent. There are several other men who have children the same age as Laura and Aaron. We exchange experiences. What I like most about these meetings is the freedom to communicate. We talk about gender equality, the feeling of love in pre-adolescence, children's needs and rights’, says Maxim.
Maxim and Cristina Bîrsan believe that children grow up harmoniously in a family in which the tasks are shared equally between the man and woman. They say that training initiatives for fathers should exist in as many regions of the country as possible, so that more men will overcome the stereotypes and become fully involved in family life.
The Fathers' Clubs were opened by UNFPA Moldova in partnership with the Child Rights Information and Documentation Centre as part of ‘Together Against Gender Stereotypes and Gender-Based Violence’ regional programme, funded by European Union, implemented by UNFPA Moldova and UN Women Moldova in 2020-2023.
This Program supports gender equality, addresses perceptions about the roles of men and women in the family and in the society, and is meant to contribute to eliminating gender-based violence.
Fălești, Drochia, Dondușeni, Glodeni and Chișinău also have clubs similar to the one in Strășeni. Their aim is to teach men how to be good fathers.
Contact data for media:
Ludmila Bogheanu, Communication Officer, ‘Together Against Gender Stereotypes and Gender-Based Violence’ regional programme, tel. +37369403016, email: firstname.lastname@example.org