Have you ever noticed how your kid’s teachers send a note home to Mom when a kid forgets his lunch? Or wears pajamas to school?
How about the fact that when moms travel for work or a getaway, the whole damn village swoops in with frozen meals and offers to babysit and lavishes wild praise all over the awesome, sparkly, spectacular super-dad who stays home with his children?
Where was that lasagna and fluff crew all those years when I was home alone with sick children while my husband traveled for work? What about the time I had the flu, when my husband was working on a long term out of town contract, while I worked full time at home as a “single mom” and my kids came home from school with lice?
Not even a single high five for staying up till 2am combing and disinfecting the entire premises, with a 102 degree fever. Just doing my job. Adequate, I was.
As annoying as that was, there’s something even worse. A flip side that I had not even considered.
Every time a dad is praised for doing something that comes naturally, it’s condescending. Every time a relative or neighbor swoops in to “help” where no help is actually needed, it’s sending a message that somehow Dads are less competent than moms.
Care.com just released an article about the Faux Pas committed against Dads, along with this excellent video highlighting this issue. The dads in this video share how demeaning it is when teachers, mother in laws and society in general questions their manhood and competence when all they are doing is what comes naturally for them.
We like to think of ourselves as progressive and egalitarian but as a society we still have some pretty screwed up notions about gender roles and who should/can do what for their kids.
I’m pretty fortunate to be married to someone who has always been involved with his kids.
But I’ll still take that lasagna and a high five if you’re offering.