When are people going to treat Dads like the capable human beings they are?
I know I’m going to get crucified for this, but I’m going to say it, I feel sorry for the new Dads out there.
Sure, a lot of new Mums get enormous enjoyment bemoaning their spouse’s incompetence at parents’ group and, hey, we all do it, we’re only human!
But it wasn’t until I went through a pregnancy and now motherhood that I realised how excluded men can be from the whole “family” process. And you know what? It’s not fair. Some of them really do want to be involved.
Take my spouse. He’s a capable man, he does half the housework, cooks every second night and looks after his infant daughter as often as someone without boobs can. Should we applaud him? Of course not. He does what is only fair, and these men do not need to be lavished in praise for doing what is realistically their “fair share” – we should be admonishing those who don’t, not praising those who do! We have a pretty balanced relationship. But, when it came to having children that balance began to tip and not through any fault of our own.
While pregnant I remember trawling websites for cures for morning sickness, advice on breech babies and general advice for becoming a new parent. My husband tried to do the same. He searched in vain for some kind of resource for Dads. In the end, after finding any Dad-related information lacking and/or patronising, he just read my books. I’m glad someone did!
Even in the hospital, every piece of advice was directed at me. My husband once commented on how he might not have existed.
Any advice that was given to him seemed to be directed at an incompetent oaf, rather than a grown, educated adult. I’ll never forget when the midwife in our antenatal class said, “you know, Dads, you could help Mum by changing the occasional nappy”. My husband was outraged. The occasional nappy?
And why is it Mum’s job to be the carer who needs Dad as an assistant, rather than a teammate – it’s no wonder the gender divide is still so strong when stereotypes are still propagated like this. When are people going to treat Dads like the capable human beings they are, and not inept helpers to the madonnas that are their wives?!