I’ll start with this, my husband is wonderful and we have a great partnership. Hear that? Partnership. We share responsibilities. I’ll be honest, he does a lot more cleaning than I do: one, because he has a lower threshold for clutter and “messes” and two, because I hate it so much. Let me clean butts and wipe noses, fold laundry and bathe the dog … but clean the house? UGH! Give and take, that’s what makes marriage work, right?
I’m sure you can imagine my amusement people praise him for doing things moms get zero credit for. Tasks that if I didn’t do, I’d be labeled a bad mother but when he does them he’s Super-Dad. They’re right, he is great but not because he volunteers to give our daughter a bath when my family has driven 12 hours from Virginia to visit. That’s just being thoughtful. They’ll say things like “You’re so lucky.” And “he’s so good with her.” Well yeah, he’s her father and it did take both of us to create her.
After my parents’ most recent visit my husband and I actually discussed and laughed about his super star parent status and broke down our own childhoods. While we were both very lucky to have fathers that were around and supportive there was definitely a clear division of labor and adherence to stereotypical gender norms. Something I didn’t really begin to see until I was an adult was how truly amazing my mother was when I was growing up. (Don’t worry she’s still wonderful, obviously.) My mother dropped us off and picked us up every single day from a sitters house, worked a full time job, cooked dinner (a legit home cooked meal) at least 6 days per week, did all of the laundry, made lunches and cleaned the house every week and for the life of me I cannot remember the woman ever being sick! Now I’m not saying my dad wasn’t great but my mom certainly didn’t get the standing ovation she deserved.
I don’t need praise for doing my job as a parent and I don’t want to take away anything from my husband, but why does he get so much credit? We both work full time jobs; come to think of it he’s usually home more during the week than I am. Mostly, I think a lot of it comes down to generation gap. We were born in the 80s, that’s really all I can say. It doesn’t make it right or wrong, but our culture was not nearly as progressive then as it is today. The “he’s so great” comments aren’t really about my parenting style or maybe even theirs, I think it’s more about the fathers our parents had. Between my husband and I, there aren’t too many spectacular things that can be said about any of our grandfathers. (At this point all but one is deceased.) Thinking about our parents’ fathers during their formative years: one was abusive, one was absent, one was a grade-a misogynist asshole, and one (who was dead and gone before we were born) has always simply been described as “harsh”. None of our parents had nurturing fathers. Hell, most of them didn’t even have fathers that were actively present in their upbringing. They were bread-winners and disciplinarians and that’s about the extent of their “parenting”.
Luckily at this point in time majority of us have found partners that understand this whole parenting thing is a TEAM EFFORT. Being a present father doesn’t make a man Super-Dad, it makes him a Modern Man. And any respectable father should wear that shit like a badge of honor.
Here is our very own Modern Man. We are very glad we can claim him as ours and I’m forever grateful to have him as a partner in this thing called life. Cheers babes!