I hate John Hughes. Let me rephrase that. I despise John Hughes.
He didn’t do anything to me directly. He didn’t run over my hypothetical dog. He didn’t impugn my family’s honor. What he did do was write a movie that was released in 1983. It was that movie whose title was implanted into the vernacular of our society. That movie is Mr. Mom.
Long story short, Michael Keaton, plays a bumbling stay at home dad who makes basic housekeeping and parenting look like rocket science but suddenly, with the help of 80s movie magic, finally gets “it” and becomes, wait for it, the title of the movie, Mr. Mom.
Flash forward thirty-one year later. I am depositing some checks at my local bank, my young daughters, ages 4 and 2, in tow. We stand in line, well I stand in line, I wrangle them to attempt to stand in line with me. We approach the teller, complete our transaction, I collect some suckers for them and start to usher them out. Then it happened. The teller says it: “Oh look at you being Mr. Mom today.” I stopped dead in my tracks, turned to face her and said the first thing that came to my mind. “I am their FATHER every day.” She turned pale and I walked out fuming.
This is merely one example of what myself and other involved Dads deal with from society, mostly women, on a daily basis. A backhanded “compliment” that is purely insulting and an outdated view of modern parenting. Plain and simple, it’s disrespectful.
A man can beat his children, abandon them, help conceive them and they get called “Dad” albeit deadbeat or baby would be in front of it but nonetheless, they are “Dads.” A man gets involved in parenting and raising his children but he gets called “Mr. Mom.” Anyone care to explain that?
Should it truly matter that man take an active role in parenting? No, but many within society have this idea that raising children is a woman’s job. Is it so shocking that a man would go grocery shopping with his children or get them ready for school? Or do the laundry or clean the house or cook all while parenting? Some of you would say yes. Some of you would say welcome to modern parenting.
Ladies, is it that surprising that a man wants to be involved with the raising of his children? That he changes diapers or cleans the house after mowing the lawn? Do you respect us that little? Or are your standards in men so low that you need to make yourself feel better about your parenting role that you insult ours? Better yet, you CAN call me “Mr. Mom” as long as I can call you “Mrs. Dad.” Don’t like it now do you?
In the film Kingdom of Heaven, there is a quote that I try to practice every day as a parent, husband, and man. Carved in a beam in the blacksmith’s shop is the phrase, “Nemo vir est qui mundum non reddat meliorem.” Evidently, Mr. Ringo is an educated man. Translated, it reads: “What man is a man who does not make the world better?” This is the credo of the involved Dad. All of us. We want to make our world, our family better. Who are we to stand idly by and not put in any effort?
You really know what I would like for Father’s Day this year? Not a tie or a coffee mug (by the way, let’s work on improving gifting in the future). I would like a shred of your respect and a simple “thank you.” Not much is it?
Cinko is the wizard behind the curtain at Manderstanding. He's funny, wildly inappropriate and one of the best fathers I know...he just wants to be treated like one. You can find him here on Facebook, though he's much preferring Twitter these days. His Twitter account is here, and the Manderstanding Twitter account is here.