Fathers are so adorable aren’t they? They way they kind of bumble around—trying to figure out all the intricacies of parenting that women have hardwired into their vaginas?
Clearly, I’m being facetious. As a woman and a mother I am here to tell you that there is zero knowledge about parenting that women are just born with. Parenting is a skill you learn with time and trial. I think it’s time we stop acting like dads don’t know how to do it and thinking it’s the most adorable thing in the world when they spend time with their kids.
This obsession we have with finding everything a dad does so damn cute isn’t doing anyone any good. Least of all fathers.
You know when you see a video of a gorilla holding a kitten and you think to yourself, Oh, how cute! Ninety-percent of the reason you think that it’s so adorable is because gorillas don’t walk around holding kittens all day. It’s an anomaly. If gorillas walked around holding kittens all day it would still be cute, but it wouldn’t be newsworthy.
If every time a father does something with his child that women do all the time we say adorable! we’re just reinforcing the idea that men are gorillas and children are kittens. Basically, that it’s out of the ordinary for a man to be caring for his child.
It’s not out of the ordinary. Men care for their kids all the time. The statistics have spoken: 28% of women now out-earn their husbands. It is not uncommon for a man to be the primary provider. Okay, it’s a little rare at 3.5% but more and more fathers are contributing to all aspects of their child’s upbringing.
Being a good, involved dad is not a novelty—yet we treat it like it is. From ridiculous advertising that paints fathers as clueless to viral videos whose popularity points to how “cute “ we still think the notion of an involved father is—our perception has got to change.
Speaking of viral videos, can you imagine if it were a mum instead of a dad who posted the “Home With Dada” time-lapse video I linked to above? I guess it would be called “Home With Mama.” Something tells me viewers wouldn’t find a day at home with Mama as precious as they found a day at home with Dad.
Missouri Dad Emio Tomeoni’s video of a day at home with his toddler quickly went viral after he posted it to YouTube. The comments on the video were basically as follows: How cute! You’re such a great dad! I can’t believe you cleaned up after yourself! I’m totally paraphrasing, but that is the gist of it.
Watch the video and try to imagine what the response would be if it were a mother featured instead of a father. Methinks there would be a lot of this:
Did you only change his nappy once?
Do you always leave your house such a mess?
You never even read to him.
Aren’t you still breastfeeding? Doesn’t he get a bottle of some sort?
I wish I could be a stay-at-home-mom and do nothing all day!
As far as the general public is concerned, mums are supposed to be genetically pre-disposed to multi-tasking, laundry, cooking and child maintenance. Therefore, when we do it – it’s no big whoop. We’re supposed ;to be good at it, right? But when a man does it, suddenly, he’s golden. It’s so sweet that he’s helping with the children. He’s an amazing father for just showing up.
This dichotomy is doing no one any good. First of all, parenting is a stressful shit-show, and mums should be getting credit for being expected to do it so effortlessly. Second, fathers are really good at it, too.
So the next time you see a video that’s gone viral, or that touching story of a dad just being a dad – don’t be so touched. Fathers are important – and in that sense they are just as boring as mums.
And that is a huge compliment.