When my partner and I parent side-by-side, others can't help but compare our accomplishments and failures. While my bar has somehow been set impossibly high, his is so damn low people are impressed when he can hold a damn baby. Thankfully there are words to describe the horror that is dads being praised for no reason, because screaming into the dark abyss or the nearest pillow just doesn't capture the frustration. It's a damn travesty (and super annoying) that dads aren't held to the same standard that mothers are expected to naturally meet or surpass. And don't get me wrong, I'm not referring to all fathers. But in my experience, a helluva lot of them get the credit moms actually deserve, if not more.
Since the birth of our daughter 11 years ago, my partner's contributions have been more widely received and overtly celebrated than the many, many things I've done in the name of parenthood. When he went to work, I stayed home to care for our two kids, and though my list of tasks runs a mile long on any given day, he's the one who gets all the accolades. No matter where we're at, crowds flock to hear his lengthy work stories that only sometimes involve our children. With an energy that draws people in, and compels them to engage, he's alwaysbeen deemed the "cool" dad, even if he's done nothing "cool." Then I'm stuck being the "strict" mom, the "boring" mom, and most often, the overlooked caregiver doing all the work with little-to-no recognition.
I'm proud of my husband's work accomplishments, and I'm also grateful he's taken care of us financially all these years while I fumbled through various jobs and freelance projects and cared for our children. But at home, I'm the one who does everything. From working my own job, to writing books, to chores, errands, grocery shopping, attending school events, cooking, and then some, all of my daily accomplishments and hard work doesn't seem to mean as much when I'm standing next to my partner. It's enraging when he's praised for picking the kids up from school, doing a single load of laundry, going to work, or simply telling a child he loves them. I've had enough. Enough. Which is why I'm more than grateful for my generous vocabulary I'm able to use in order to describe the bullsh*t that is dads being endlessly praised for doing the minimum. A vocabulary that, you guessed it, includes the following words: