A neighbor of mine posted a link to a new movie coming out that's called "What to Expect When You're Expecting." It brought one word to my mind. OFFENSIVE.
Seriously, if society expects women to be the perfect parent, it equally expects men to be bumbling idiots in that area. It's a stereotype that needs to be retired. We have learned that women can be just as effective as men in the workplace and now it's time to admit that men can be just as effective as women with the children.
I live across the street from two very capable stay at home dads. I see them doing all the things a stay at home mom would do. I see them playing outside and taking walks. I see them managing to get their kids in the car and go places. I don't actually see what goes on inside the house, but I do see their children being dressed, obviously well-fed and cared for and looking pretty damn happy. Also, both of the dads still look exactly like men. Imagine that.
This might sound hypocritical coming from someone who has been a stay at home Mom for the last 15 years, but let me explain why it isn't. I have been a stay at home Mom by choice, not because it was some mold I was expected to fit into. My husband has been very supportive of this and is now equally supportive of the fact that I'm going back to school and will eventually have a job outside of the home. He also hasn't used the fact that I'm a stay at home Mom as an excuse not to be a parent. He is just as able as I am to care for our children and has never given me the feeling that what I'm doing is "women's work."
When I was pregnant with our 4th child, I had a condition called placenta previa. Basically, my placenta attached down too low and was covering my cervix. This is very dangerous for obvious reasons. From 20 weeks on, I was being very closely monitored and at 27 weeks, I had a pretty big bleed. It was 2 days after Christmas and our girls were already asleep for the night. My Mom came to sit with them while Nic took me to the hospital. The verdict was, strict bedrest until our son was born. (With this condition, once you have the "really big bleed," you have 5 minutes to get the baby out - whey they say "strict," they're not messing around). We both knew there was no way I would be able to stay on strict bedrest while trying to care for our 6, 4 and 1 1/2 year old daughters. So, I stayed in the hospital until Carter was born...on February 18th.
Yes, you read that right. I was in the hospital for 56 nights. The entire time I was there, Nic worked full time AND took care of our 3 girls. (Yes, he did have some help from family and friends, but he was on the clock all the time). He fed them. He bathed them. He put their mattresses in our bedroom and they slept in there so they could feel secure while I was gone. He even took them to their dance classes. Also, there were only a handful of days that he didn't put all 3 of them in the van (in the middle of the winter) and drag them up to the hospital to see me. Bumbling? Incompetent? Hardly.
So, here is to all the dads who feel irritated and frustrated by society's image of them. Don't worry what "they" think. We know the truth. And we think you're awesome.