How One Dad Blogger Totally Nailed Today's Parenting Double-StandardsMonica Bielanko
You’d think that with the number of dads staying at home with kids doubling in the last 25 years all those silly little 1950-isms people say to dads taking care of business with their kids would be left by the wayside by now.
Alas, they aren’t. The condescending statements people make to dads on-the-go are alive and well. Just ask Aaron Gouveia of DaddyFiles.com who nailed it with his 8 Stupid Things You Should Stop Saying to Dads on The Huffington Post.
Gouveia’s list includes some of the usual suspects that irk dads and moms alike: don’t call dad a “babysitter” when he’s spending time with the kids and don’t say things like “looks like dad dressed the kids today” when clothing choices appear to be odd. Additionally, the father of two has some really salient points that should be shared.
“You’re SUCH A Good Dad.”
Why do people say this? Because he’s with his children? Does a mom grocery shopping with two kids merit a similar compliment? Because nearly every week I strap my 3-month-old onto my chest while herding my wild animal of a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old through the store and I’ve never once been complimented on my stellar mothering skills. Yet if their father were to do the same thing I’m certain he’d receive a personal escort from the store owner as a couple smitten ladies swooned in his wake. Dads are so sexy, moms are all tired and stuff.
Gouveia also nails it when he warns people not to say, “‘Oh, look at you playing Mr. Mom today!’ Calling dads “Mr. Mom” is a cardinal sin in the dad world, and when you say it to an involved father, you’re taking a metaphorical dump all over him. Fatherhood isn’t a version of motherhood, and dads aren’t playing the part of a mom. That implies parenting is some sort of women’s work — and we’re not having that.”
Another brilliant point Gouveia makes is about the parenting double-standards women often inflict on their husbands without really even being aware of it. “You’re doing it wrong … Here’s how I do it.” Perhaps sometimes dad really is doing it wrong; a backwards onesie or diaper, but other times, it’s just a matter of a parenting style and moms would do well to shut their traps and let dad do it his way. ” … like with how we’re holding the baby or how we choose to discipline — it seems like the ‘wrong way’ really means not doing it ‘your way.’ And that’s not cool. Parenting is trial by fire, and eventually we’ll figure out what works — just like you did. But we need that opportunity, and we don’t need to be told we’re doing it wrong just because we’re not doing it the way you do. Let go of the reins a little, and you might find dads come up with an even better method or idea.”
I’m so happy to see dads asserting themselves as the fantastic parents they are by not being afraid to call out these parenting double-standards that belong in the fifties. These dads of the 21st century are stepping up and speaking out as equals in the same way that women are still fighting to be recognized as dominant members of the workforce. The gender roles of yore are blurrier by the minute and that’s a very good thing.
Remember when Doyin Richards posted a photo of himself wearing one daughter in a wrap while styling another daughter’s hair and it went viral? Because OMG the awesomeness! Except moms do that crap every day. That was Richards’ point when he responded to the attention. Richards told Yahoo Shine, “The media doesn’t portray fathers as caregivers. We’re seen as bumbling fools trying to figure out parenthood, or macho men pushing their kids into the NFL.”
Exactly. Here’s to all the dads like Richards and Gouveia who are doing what they can to break down gender stereotypes of what dads can and can’t do.