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.