I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again — it’s sh*tty how differently we treat moms and dads when they are out in public with their kids.
When my husband takes our four kids out, he’s treated like a hero. Me? Not so much. If I take the kids grocery shopping, for instance, I get all sorts of stares and judgments. But my husband? Well, you’ll have a hard time seeing him amongst the line of adoring old women surrounding him to coo over his biceps and baby.
I don’t say that to look down on my husband, he’s an amazing dad. But the the outright disparity between the red carpet that’s rolled out for him and the criticisms that are so easily thrown at me is just not right.
And Constance Hall, the infamous mom blogger who seems to always put into words what every mother everywhere thinks and feels every day, has done it again by completely nailing the double standard of parenting for moms and dads. As usual, she took to Facebook to write about her latest experience:
Hall, who is a mom of four herself, described how she was having breakfast with a friend at an outdoor restaurant, when her baby needed a diaper change. Unable to find a changing table, she “went very far away,” put the baby down in the grass, and changed her.
“No big deal,” Hall wrote, because as any mom knows, it’s really not a big deal. I have changed diapers in far stranger places, I can assure you. And it shouldn’t have been a big deal, except of course for some bizarre reason, a woman decided to approach her and scold her for not using a changing room for her daughter.
“30 minutes later a woman approached me and said, ‘I saw you changing your daughters nappy, could you please use the change table next time’ ” Hall described. “I felt like a loser. The world went on.”
But wait! The plot thickens!
The next weekend, Hall says, her family was at the same park, this time with her husband, Bill. And when the baby needed her diaper changed, her husband did exactly what Hall had done the weekend before — set him down in the grass to change his diaper.
And lo and behold, what did the little ladies who just happened to be walking by think of that sight? Yup, you guessed it. He was praised.
“One said.. Aww good dad!!!'” Hall wrote. “That’s what we like to see, get in there!’ Bill felt like a legend. The world went on.”
And while any mother can see the double standard, many of us just accept that that’s the way it is.
“I didn’t think much of it because I am used to it,” she continued. “I am used to being scrutinised for jobs that my husband is praised for. I am used to picking the kids up from school to judgmental looks about being late, while Bill is used to a red f*cking carpet and a 12 piece band praising him for his heroic appearance at school pick up.
That’s the way we as a society are, we place so much pressure on women to be perfect and selfless while putting low parenting expectations on men.”
So what’s the answer, when so many of us not only experience it, but may inadvertently play a role in it, either by acceptance, engagement, or ignorance? Well, says Hall, the answer doesn’t come in putting dads down, but in raising up moms more.
“I am not saying quit the praise,” she explains. “I love seeing Bill get praised for the things he does for our kids. He is a good dad, why not celebrate him?
But let’s praise each other too, let’s see a women talking on the phone while pushing her pram and think ”Wow, she chose not to stay at home bidding on eBay smashing straight vodka. She chose to come to the park and be a magnificent mum.'”
Amen to that — and cheers to all the magnificent moms who may or may not have changed their babies’ diapers in the park grass today. You’re doing great.