I’m sure I’m just being a whiny crybaby, but I’m getting pissed off at these “family” resources that do nothing but focus on moms. They claim they are all about being family- or kid-friendly, but their content is all mom-this and mom-that. It seems as if dads don’t exist at all, or they show up and give their best Joey Lawrence impression, “Whoa!”
I’m tired of being considered a member of the domestically hapless sex. I’m not some gelatinous blob who is lavished with child adoration because I can make fart noises behind my knee. I’m not the guy who goes golfing every weekend because the thought of being around my kids is frightening. I’m not an idiot who thinks food comes out of the kitchen heater thing ready for me when I come home.
I am a man. I am a father. I am daddy.
There are plenty of others like me, too. Take my good friend Aaron Gouveia over at Daddy Files (@DaddyFiles). He’s the father of Will, a great toddler who occupies half of his attention. The other half is focused on his wife, MJ. Both parents work. Both dote on their son. They are equal partners in their household work, which includes caring for an raising Will.
Aaron is a major advocate for the dad’s role in the family unit. He believes in being actively engaged in his son’s life, and that dads are not to be discounted by the hyperactive “momculture”. His recent post, “Men Need Friends, Too“, argues that “Girls Night Out” is a celebrated tradition, but any suggestion of a “Guys Night Out” is akin to a remake of The Hangover, and that’s not right. It points out the double-standard that exists in the popular opinion of marital fairness.
I’m not an idiot. Despite people like Aaron and me, most of the moms in the world are moms to their children and their husbands alike. They do the majority of the domestic work in addition to whatever other occupation they might have whether it is full time child rearing or VP in the corporate world.
I get it. Today’s mom is the maid, cook, coach, counselor, etc. Guess what? That’s not much different than any time in history, except that women now have the additional responsibilities that come with a career. And, believe me, I’m not advocating that women should all stay at home. My wife has always made more money than me, she has a master’s degree and I do not, and she holds a higher position in her career than I do. And I’m proud of her for accomplishing all of that. I’ve pushed her to continue to reach for her goals while we have started a family that includes two kids and a dog.
What I’m saying is I’m tired of the double-standard that mom is the only person who grocery shops or cooks dinner or does laundry. I’m tired of magazine’s like “Parents” and “Parenting” throwing a bone to us dads once a year in June to say how great we are, but then only talk about women’s issues in their newsstand content the rest of the year. Obviously, a majority of their readership is women, but their articles could at least make an effort to include a dad perspective more regularly.
There are Twitter accounts that claim they are “family” services, but then all of their promotions or chats are mom-centered or even use a hashtag with “mom” in it. I wouldn’t mind this if there was a “dad’ conversation, too, but there isn’t. But that’s not to say that dads don’t exist or have their own community. There’s The Good Men Project Magazine, the #dadstalking Twitter chat hashtag, and more. These are not the mainstream.
It’s time dads got some regular credit for their contributions. Dads want to be part of the parenting conversation, and yet they face their own glass ceiling. They want to be marketed family products without a feminine undertone. Gender neutral is fine. Really. It’s OK.
Momsculture: stop ignoring us. You want our help. You want us to be involved. You want a partner. Then let us. Stop keeping us at arm’s length. And for goodness’ sake, stop celebrating yourselves for doing a job that is as old as time. Celebrate yourselves because you’re a quality person with dreams and accomplishments. Then celebrate us dads for the same reasons.