Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Why do we give dads a pass?

Okay, so I'm in the mall today, because I needed to get my new ring sized. While there, I strolled down to the shoe store (where I bought 8 dollar boots, yes, that is not a misprint), and happened to glance up at one of the TV monitors they have playing helpful tips and hints as you stroll the corridor of the mall. This "tip" happened to be about how Mom can help Dad out if she has to go out of town on a business trip. Some examples, pack the kids lunches ahead of time so Dad won't forget to do it, lay out however many days of outfits your kids will need, so Dad won't have to worry about what matches what, and lastly, don't forget to give Dad a great big "thank you" kiss when you arrive home for doing such a good job while you were gone.

Seriously? Really? I am so tired of things like this. It is, unfortunately for you readers, a giant peeve of mine of which I am about to rant. When exactly did we give men license to be this incompetent? When did we women, (men, society, whoever) decide that men were so stupid that they couldn't be troubled to dress and feed their own children without massive intervention from Mom? Most of us went into marriage and parenthood thinking that it was an equal partnership, but I know of few couples (okay, let me be clear here, I know of no couples) where this is actually the case. And one of the reasons? We just assume out of the gate that Dads can't do what Moms do, so we give them a pass. I'm guilty of it. I used to lay out clothes for my husband to dress my kiddos in, and my mom thinks I still should, because yowza, you should see some of the outfits he's come up with. And I'm sure other moms do the same. We're the same mom who never even mentions that cupcakes that need to be brought into class, the homework that needs to be checked, the doctor appointments that need to be made, because we've basically taken Dad out of the equation for things like that. In any given day, I make about a million kid related decisions that my husband never hears about, never knows about, never cares about. He blissfully goes on unaware, because that's just the way it is. Now, note that I'm not blaming him for it (well, not 100% anyway). The fault also lies with me, and everyone who decided that this was perfectly acceptable behavior. But is it? Maybe for some people it is. Maybe some people are content with the way things are, and I suppose that if it works for them, I should just shut up. But, it doesn't work for me. I'm not about to treat my husband like a semi-competent babysitter. He's an equal part of these children, and I think should be in every way. That's why I stopped laying out clothes and packing lunches. And that's why I'm ranting right now. A friend and I were having lunch with two dads the other day and brought up this subject. One of the dads said that men just have so much to think about during the day that the kids and family slip to the back. To which I say, why? And, is that really an excuse? My life and job are just as hectic and time consuming as my husband's, yet, my children and family are always "up front" in my mind. As it should be. As it should be for everyone.

Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. (But I'm not!)


Tracy said...

You could be wrong. But you are NOT. Good post. You had me laughing outloud while simultaneously rolling my eyes and shaking my head.

Mimi said...

Ok, here is my take on this: Dads do get somewhat of a pass for various reasons. I laid out clothes because I wanted you guys to go to school in clothes that matched, were not grossly wrinkled, etc. I was a teacher--I know how cruel other kids can be about things like that, and I never wanted your feelings to be hurt. I packed lunches because I wanted you to have a healthy lunch, with a variety--sandwich, fruit, something salty, cookie or whatever. It is much easier to pack a lunch when you just toss whatever is prepackged in a bag (and that is what most guys would do). Your father pulled his fair share when it came to things like doctor's and dentist's appointments. Teaching, I had zero flexibility and he truly took up the slack during the school months. True, he didn't do laundry, but I didn't want him to. He threw everything in together and I really wanted your socks and underwear to look clean and not gray and dingy.Cooking was not his strong suit, but he was great about taking you to tastee freeze or someplace, which you loved. I guess it is all about choices and what you can live with.

Deb said...

Wow, girl. I didn't know you really felt that way about it, well, yes I did. I love to do all those things for my children and when I need my husband to step, He will, (I have to tell him several times but he will). You got it made with Rusty though, he does truly love you and he pulls a lot of weight with you and the family. Being a mom is doing all the things you said. I know you love it and I don't think any man should say oh, that's just not my job because marriage is a partnership and so are kids. Do you know my father-in-law has never changed a diaper in his life, he has 3 kids, and 7 grandkids. I think that is crazy and to this day he does not do the dishes, laundry or even make a meal. I think to myself how can Linda (my mother-in-law) deal with that and I have asked her and she said she loves taking care of him, it is the job God created her to do. How can you argue with that?