Before all the fathers out there jump down my throat, this entry isn’t to tell everyone moms are better or dads don’t deserve praise. I will be the first to tell my husband that he is not only a great father, but a great man! He’s a splendid son, father, husband, son-in-law, nephew, teacher, co-worker, etc. As all marriages, we have had really good highs and really bad lows. This post isn’t about that. It is about our society’s archaic expectation of fatherhood vs. motherhood. We need to stop praising dads for being ‘amazing’ dads. By doing so, we are telling them that they are doing something out of the ordinary or something that is spectacular.
In the corporate world, we are reviewed every year. ‘Meets Expectations’ is one review that you received if you are doing what is require.
- Is the dad playing with the child?
- is the dad feeding the child?
- is the dad dropping off/picking up?
- is the dad changing diapers?
- is the dad helping around the house when applicable?
yes to all? MEETS EXPECTATIONS! is there even one no? NEEDS IMPROVEMENT!
- is the dad creating edible flashcards?
- is the dad sewing organic clothes?
- is the dad going to a parallel universe to bring back a baby narwhal?
if yes, then EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS!!!
Whether we like it or not, there is an unequal expectation of how men should be after they become dads and how women should be. In the very distant past, men were to be the moneymakers and if they found the time to change a diaper, the community threw them a parade (not literally, but y’all get it). Fast forward to 2019, women are also working 40+ hours a week and we are not counting side hustles or trying to keep the identity we had before we became the f-up bun, no make up, tot trotting milk machine.
I will admit that there have been times I felt offended that a family member or friend will tell my husband what an AAAAAMAAAZZING father he is to our son…RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. It is offensive because it is a blatant disregard to my sleepless nights, cracked nipples, bald patches, and deflated balloon of a body (have kids though, its so worth it…)
I chose the word ‘AMAZING’ specifically for the below definition. Straight from Dictionary.com,
causing great surprise or wonder; astonishing.
“an amazing number of people registered”
There shouldn’t be anything impressive or ‘causing great surprise’ from my husband spending time with his son or any father taking his child to the doctor. It is like we are praising these fathers to give them encouragement to keep on keepin’ on.
My husband does as much as I do for our son, but biologically, we were NOT equal in the pre or postpartum stages. In the words of comedian Ali Wong, “I’m the star of the show! without me, there’s nothing to see!” Moms aren’t allowed to skip dr. appointments and the dads didn’t have the doctor’s hand up their thang to check for dilation nor have to skip the swanky residential high rise Sushi + Sake night. Studies have shown that a woman’s body is not ‘back to normal’ until 9-12 months after the baby has been delivered. My husband isn’t suffering from the baby blues [although he helped me cope a lot], obsessively slathering cocoa butter on his stretch marks, or wondering if his hair patches will ever grow back because he has baldness in his family line. All the while, trying to keep it together because he read the baby can feel auras! Keep in mind that moms have to go through A LOT emotionally as well as physically.
Breastfeeding has comeback with a vengeance. I made the personal choice to do so and after going through it, I definitely understand it is NOT for everyone. I woke up every few hours to change and feed our son, concerned with my diet, researched the best pumps for when I go BACK to work full-time, etc. What as I supposed to do? make my husband stay up and watch me? Instead, I sat in the dark only illuminated by my cell phone screen watching my husband snore jealously. That is my story and I chose that path.
On the flip side, there are dads out there that take turns with the moms bottle feeding their baby. The moms are lucky to have them and they are lucky to have her. In no way is this dad being an ‘amazing’ dad. We should set the standard for dads that they must do this [or at least be active with raising the child to a high degree]. We shouldn’t feel bad that dads are ‘so tired’. That is life with a baby, period. I have experienced people telling me they feel bad for my husband because he looks tired and that he has to work too. Well damn, I guess I roll around in bed with my piles of money like Scrooge McDuck all day long.
In the end, if you feel the need to praise dads, at least be sensitive that she needs some recognition too. There are dads out there that play the roles of moms too for whatever the situation may be. All parents deserve our applaud. They all deserve our most heart-felt genuine admiration because kids are unintentional a-holes. No matter what economic class, no matter what race, nationality, or gender, kids are unintentional a-holes.
*our 10 month old is currently going through temper tantrums and hair pulling [because it is apparently funny]
All the posts on social media you see are the beautiful and good ol’ times. Maybe we should post the times we have to hold the baby to sleep and pull neck muscle because a baby’s 12 – hours of sleep is much more detrimental to their brain development than mom’s comfort. I still hold the baby for naps…I know, I know, shame…shame! [cue Cersei’s walk of shame clip]
Why do the dads look like they’re so great? MOMS ARE TAKING THE PICS! Maybe we do it to ourselves. I am guilty. I post videos and pics on IG and FB all the time about my husband playing with my son. I don’t post videos of myself fighting with the baby in the morning to change his diaper and chase him around putting on his clothes while my husband enjoys his quiet TOILET time. hmmm…maybe I should.
Anyway, enough ranting and with all due respect….please stop telling dads they are AMAZING or SOOOOO WONDERFUL for doing what is expected of a dad.