Last Wednesday I took my daughters (five and two) to a buffet-style restaurant. A fiftyish woman saw me carrying my two-year-old and holding my five-year-old daughter’s hand and asked, “Mommy’s night off?”
I told her my wife was having a date with my son and that the two were just enjoying some time together. The woman gave me a rather admiring look and said, “You must be some husband to do that.”
My initial internal response was Wow, thanks! After all, who doesn’t like being complimented? But in the days and nights since then I’ve started to think more about it.
Let’s put the shoe on the other foot. My wife is with my daughters, and they run into the same woman. First of all, does the woman give them a second glance? Nope. Secondly, if the woman does notice them, it would only be because my wife and daughters are the three most gorgeous girls in the universe. But the woman surely wouldn’t make it a point to tell my wife what a great mother she was, would she? Of course not. Because it’s just assumed that a woman should be a great mom.
See why this is bothering me?
The problem isn’t the woman we ran into at the restaurant. She was well-intentioned and very nice. The problem is a society that regards an involved father as some sort of glorious aberration. No, I’m not saying that all women are saintly because there are plenty of entitled, unappreciative women out there. And no, I’m not ripping all men, because I know a great many awesome dads who care deeply and are just as involved in their kids’ lives as anyone could be.
But there aren’t enough of them.
You want a societal problem? It ain’t violent movies or PEDs in professional sports.
It’s low expectations for fathers.
So now that Mother’s Day has come and gone, here’s a proposal to all the fathers reading this: Let’s be involved with our kids all year long and encourage other dads to do the same. Let’s make a father spending quality time with his kids such a common sight that no one notices it anymore.
That’s all. Have a great night, folks.
5 thoughts on “A Post-Mother’s Day Thought”
Thanks so much for writing this! So very true!! When Addie was just about a baby to maybe 2 years old, Tim helped me out alot because I had a full-time demanding corporate job out of the household and still tried to also be there all the time for my kids. He and I were partners and we both pulled our fair share (we still do but the story is from this time period). So because he sometimes took Addie to the bathroom during church or changed her diaper….an older woman said to me “Geez, that must be nice. Don’t you do anything?” LOL!!! I felt like a horrible mom! Why can’t both partners just raise the kids?? Mom can’t do it all and and men are just as capable. I so admire you, as well as my own partner Tim, for all the time you guys spend being parents. 🙂
Tim is a good man and exactly what the world needs more of–responsible men who understand that being strong means being there.
And your comment about the older woman is hilarious. My wife gets that sometimes–like she’s somehow failing if I’m doing work for the kids. It just shows how ingrained those attitudes are. But thank you for your kind words, Erin. You and Tim are both excellent parents.
Awwwww…thank you. We are all one big happy family! 🙂
My wife and I split the diaper changing 50/50 along with everything else since they’ve grown into teenagers. Unfortunately, there are a lot of deadbeat or hands-off dads out there. Hard to find the good ones in a sea of neglect.
I can’t say I’m surprised, Hunter. You strike me as a stand-up, change-the-diapers kind of guy. The dirty work is often where love is expressed most. There are plenty of neglectful fathers out there, but there are some like you, and that’s a heartening thought.