It should come as no surprise that what you say to your kids, or even around your kids, has consequences. Their minds are tiny sponges that soak up every single solitary utterance within their vicinity, which brings a whole new level of fear to "watch your mouth." As a parent, you're acutely aware that you're weighted with the massive responsibility of teaching your kids important lessons that will aid them in life, and feminist moms, in particular, take that obligation extremely seriously. Whether it's teaching their sons about consent, teaching their daughters to be sex-positive, or anything in between, feminist moms are changing how parents talk to, around, and about their children.
Which is why there are a few things a feminist mother would refuse to say to her kids about dads. While a patriarchal society has been (sadly) extremely successful in creating and sustaining gender stereotypes that shape how dads and their roles are viewed, what's expected of them, and how they're talked about, a feminist mother is breaking down those damaging, offensive clichés by refusing to regurgitate them (and certainly refusing to let them define their expectations of themselves or their partners when it comes to parenting and co-parenting).
How we talk about dads is directly affecting how society treats them, which in turn, affects how they treat their children and the partners they parent with. If we are to demand more of men in a parenting role, we must change how they're viewed by refusing to say these 15 things about them to our children.
Dads Make The Money
Sure, some dads do. Other dads stay home, and the mom financially contributes to the family. For others, both the mom and the dad have jobs and make money so that they can provide for their kid(s). The age-old dynamic of "mom stays home; dad goes to work" is shifting, and isn't indicative of every family in the United States. In fact, the number of stay-at-home dads has risen in the United States, and was up to 2 million in 2012.
Dads Aren't As Important As Moms
Every parent in a kid's life is just as vital and valuable as every other parent, and if one of those parents is a dad, then yes, him too. And as such, every parent should be given just as much responsibility as the other. Just because a father can't carry, birth, or breastfeed a child (and honestly, sometimes that isn't true, as there are fathers who actually can), that doesn't mean that the dad shouldn't play a vital role in a kid's upbringing. They're important, and should be treated like an important part of the parenting team who has just as many obligations, roles, and responsibilities as a mother.
Dads Don't Cook
Yeah, that's just not true. A dad has every capability of cooking as a mother does, as gender does not define or create a person's culinary prowess. All it takes is a little time, practice and patience; so the idea that a dad can't cook is really more like a dad doesn't want to cook. Or maybe a dad sucks at cooking. Or a mom really loves it. Or vice versa on any of those accounts. Again, this isn't the 1950s you guys. Any parent's place can be in the kitchen.
Dad Isn't As Capable As Mom
A feminist mother isn't going to depict a dad as a fumbling buffoon, weighed down by his hilarious parenting incapabilities. A dad can change a diaper just as sufficiently as a mother, and his "man DNA" doesn't keep him from dressing a baby or burping a baby or simply parenting in any way. Often, women speak about their partner's pitfalls and how oh-so funny it is that he can't do that one parenting thing because, oh man, he's a dad and dads just don't get it and never will because of their silly dad brains. Yeah, a feminist mother isn't going to do that at all. Like, we're all just as capable of "getting it" around here, so no excuses.
Dads Aren't Natural Parents
A new study suggests that genes, as well as environmental factors, play a roll in how well you'll end up parenting. You know what doesn't play a roll? Your gender. A dad isn't lacking some mysterious parenting gene. In fact, in a national survey of single, childless people in 2011, more men said they wanted children than women did. So we can just put that outdated trope of "all women want babies, and men hesitantly have babies out of some obligation" to bed.
Dads Don't Cry
Yeah, that's just not true. I mean, haven't you ever listened to Elvis?
Dads Don't Need Any Help
Trust me, dads need help. Dads need help, moms need help... Parents need help. Being a father doesn't make you impervious to the very real frustrations that parenthood provides, and it most certainly doesn't make them superheroes who will never need assistance from someone else. When you're parenting and you're sleep-deprived and your sanity feels like it's hanging on by a thread, you'll need some help and the title of "mom" or "dad" won't be the reason why.
Dads Don't Clean
Gender stereotypes that convinced our society that women clean and men changes tires, are old news. Now that more and more people are figuring out what feminism actually, truly means, more people are also onboard with the idea that a person's gender isn't defining what they do in the house, outside of the house, or...anywhere really. A dad can clean, just like a mom can clean; A mom can change a tire, just like a dad can change a tire; The shared responsibilities of any family are divvied up not because someone is a mom or a dad, but because two someones decide what works best for them. At least, in a feminist mom's house, that's how it works.
Dads Can't Change Diapers
Jimmy Kimmel may have lost a diaper changing contest to Kim Kardashian, but that doesn't mean that any dad can't change a baby's diaper. It's not rocket science, and you don't need an advanced degree to figure out which end goes where and what the tabs do. It's a diaper, and being a dad doesn't mean you're incapable of changing one. Yes, even the supremely gross ones (in fact, let's just say especially those).
Dads Can Leave, But Moms Can't
So, despite what popular culture (OK, Maury) would have you believe, dads aren't the only one who bail sometimes. The number of single dads in the United States has risen by 300,000 since 1960 to 2.6 million in 2011. Ideally, all of a kid's parents will stick around for as long as possible and be as involved as possible, but the world is rarely perfect, and the fact is, whether it's someone dying, one parent moving far away for work, or one parent simply peace-ing out, kids end up down a parent all the time. And that parent is not always a dude. Whether or not a person can leave their family has nothing to do with their label as "mom" or "dad," and everything to do with literally every other thing about them.
A Dad Has To Be A Specific Gender
Gender does not a dad make. Just look at Caitlyn Jenner. ("Uh, she's part of the Kardashijenner Media Megolith™ so we literally cannot stop looking at her; She's everywhere, they're all everywhere, what the hell have we become?! *sobbing*" – all of you right now, correctly.) Although she has transitioned and identifies as a woman, her children call her dad. She hasn't stopped being the father they knew, and with her permission, they haven't stopped calling her dad either. Her gender has nothing to do with her label as a parent.
Dads Are Easily Angered
Being a man, or a dad, doesn't somehow strip you of the ability to control your emotions. It doesn't mean that you're incapable of curbing your anger and it definitely doesn't mean that people should be afraid of your potential outbursts. Everyone should be held accountable for their actions — being a father doesn't exempt you from doing so. In fact, if anything, it makes your actions (and the ramifications of such actions) that much more important. Also women/moms can be violent and angry too, etc... You get the drill by now.
Parenting Isn't A Dad's Job
Correction: Parenting is a parent's job. Whoever has taken on the roll of a parent — whether it's a father, a mother, a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, a distant cousin twice removed by marriage (you get the idea) — is responsible for parenting responsibly and adequately. A dad's job doesn't (or at least shouldn't) end when procreation was over.
Dads Don't Have Feelings Like Moms
Fathers can be (and often are) just as emotional as mothers (sometimes, even more so, if you can believe that). They have feelings (whoa!) and experience them during milestones, tender moments, and frustrated situations, just like any other human would. A dad who identifies as a male, isn't somehow excused from riding the emotional rollercoaster that is parenthood. The negative effects of an emotionally unavailable dad are staggering (not to mention heartbreaking), but it's also worth mentioning that a father who's incapable of emotionally connecting with his kid, is struggling not because he's a dad, but because he's who he is. As with most strengths, weaknesses, and challenges, who you are as a whole person defines your degree of emotion, not just your gender.