Any time my family and I hang out with my grandmother, a career homemaker from 1961 to present, she always smiles warmly as my husband rolls around on the floor with our children or helps them reach something on a high shelf and inevitably says, "What an incredible father." She's not wrong: the Mr. is an involved, thoughtful, awesome dad as well as a considerate, proactive co-parent. However, half the things that earn him the praise of my grandmother are things that I do just as often as a mother, with not so much as a darn peep of recognition. I'm (sadly) not surprised, because, well, people worship dads for things that moms do every day.
My husband identifies as a feminist and, as such, makes a conscious effort to work with me in fighting these kinds of biases and gender stereotypes by sharing parenting responsibilities, equally and daily and since always. And while some may say that is just amazing of him, I feel like it's more common sense than conscious effort. If you're parenting with a partner, doesn't it make sense to take a collaborative approach to child-rearing? If you're partners in every other aspect of life, why wouldn't you be partners in parenting and share the responsibilities, equally? And, honestly, it's not just women who get sold short when the collective "we" insist on praising fathers for undertaking even the most basic of parenting tasks. It's also incredibly condescending for those fathers, who are equal partners in their co-parenting lives, who are made to feel patronized for doing something that (I mean, come one) isn't that difficult. When we continue to praise dads for the basics, we're setting an incredibly low bar for dudes who should probably step up their game, not only to help their partners but to get the most out of fatherhood.
Here are some pretty basic tasks that do not require a national holiday to commemorate when performed by a father, because the parade has to end sometime, guys.