This post right here...it's something that I have been thinking about writing for a long time. I've put it off for a few reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it will almost certainly generate some controversy. I'm sure that I will get yelled at for what I am going to write, I am sure that there are people who will tell me that I am wrong. I'm even more certain that there are people out there who will use their particular situations to try and generalize about all men, all fathers, and so on.
I'm going to do it anyway because I am sick and tired of not saying anything.
You guys know that I don't do meek and quiet well.
So, here we are.
Not that they actually need my defense, incidentally.
There is this thing in society where men are bashed almost as routine, where fathers are belittled by television, by movies, and most frequently, by commercials.
I mean, seriously....commercials are almost always insulting to fathers. They are trying to sell whatever their product is, and they're trying to pander to a mostly female audience because they know that women do most of the grocery shopping. Apparently, they think that if they make men seem like bumbling idiots when it comes to all things parental that we'll somehow feel more motivated to buy their widgets.
I don't understand it.
Are there guys out there who don't have a vested interest in parenting? Sure.
There are women like that too.
Are there men out there who are totally clueless about how to raise a child/mop a floor/make a sandwich/change a diaper? Absolutely.
There are women like that too.
Are there men who bail on their responsibilities, who leave, who run away from being a grown up, who refuse to step up and be the parent they need to be? Of course.
There are women who do the same thing.
It's socially acceptable to slam men as a whole in ways that we would never tolerate of women. There are blog post after blog post after blog post dedicated to making fun of fathers. Can you imagine the backlash if there was this level of finger pointing at mothers? If there were this many socially acceptable assumptions made about the ability of women to properly parent their children?
While this generation of men is, in general, far more involved in fatherhood than prior generations have been, they are also probably the most made fun of.
They are hands on parents now, they are involved from the earliest parts of pregnancy through the delivery. They baby wear, they are informed decision makers, they are room parents and stay at home fathers. They do a hell of a lot more than most of our fathers ever did, and they still can't catch a break.
I don't understand it honestly. I know men, many men, who are the primary parent. The one home almost all the time, the go-to parent, the one dealing with juggling all the kids and a job and making it all work somehow. I know fathers who have quit their jobs entirely to stay home. I know dads who permanently alter their work schedules to walk their kids to class and make sure they are home when the bell rings at the end of the day.
I know some amazing fathers.
Even still, they have to deal with the snide remarks, the jokes, the ribbing from others. These guys probably deal with it more than anyone else, because in addition to all the people who assume they aren't adequately prepared to actually parent, they have to deal with the people who harass them for actually being good fathers. The ones who question their choices to put their families before their careers, who tease them for staying home, who call them Mr. Mom or imply that they are somehow less of a man because they are an involved parent.
When we mock fathers, whether we are doing it for their perceived failings or for the things they are good at, we are doing a great disservice. The fathers of this generation are in a place of damned if you do, damned if you don't.
If you're not a good enough father, society is going to call you on it.
If you're too good of a father, society is going to make fun of you for it.
What the hell?
Fatherhood is important. It is something we should be encouraging, not mocking.
Let dads do their thing the way they do it.
Sure, they might parent differently than we do, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
We should stop acting like it is. I know my husband is better at many aspects of parenting than I am.
We should stop making fun of them online.
We should stop complaining about what we think they do wrong.
We should stop acting like it's a miracle that they are capable.
We should start treating them as the equal parents they are.
We should be teaching our children that parenting is a partnership, not a competition.
This is sexy.
High fives to all the good fathers out there.
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