I love my partner. Really, I do. He's funny, caring, and a great father. I don't say any of this to supersede with a "but," either. In fact, I could go on and on about all his great qualities. When others compliment him, I agree whole-heartedly (here's where my "but" comes in) but, I hear parenting compliments people have told my kid's dad, but have never told me. Honestly, it really gets to me. I wish it didn't, because it sounds petty and a non-issue since he does live up to the compliments, but it bothers me because, well, I'm doing the same damn things he is doing.
When my partner and I started dating, I lived a state away. It wasn't long before I moved to be closer to him, his family, his friends, his everything, and leaving all I knew behind. It was a huge risk, not knowing if we'd make it or not, but I jumped in with both feet and 13 years and two kids later, we're still here. Being away from all of my people has been a difficult adjustment, even still. While I'm considered family by all legal terms, it's not often anyone asks about my life, hopes or dreams, or even how my day is going (outside of the connections I've made on my own).
The same applies to compliments and praise. My partner gets it here, while I'm the unsung hero. Of course it's not that dramatic, but it does cause friction between us. Why can't anyone acknowledge all I do? With that, here are some of the things people have said to my partner, but can't seem to say the same to me (but I so wish they would).
"He's Such A Hard Worker"
Yes, he is. I totally and 100 percent agree with anyone who says he works hard. What I don't agree with, however, is someone bypassing all the work I do in order to compliment my partner. He does work full-time outside of the house and it's a bone-breaking, outside-in-awful-conditions kind of job. Guess what I do? Literally everything else while also working full-time from home and caring for two kids. If you're going to compliment him, a little praise my way wouldn't hurt.
"How Nice Of Him To Take Them Places"
You mean, how nice that he's doing a normal "dad" thing? I've never understood why dad's get all the compliments for doing the exact same stuff us moms do.
While I know the complimenter is well-meaning and doesn't intend to insult all I do, they essentially are. I take my kids places all the time and yet, no one says a word about it.
"You're So Lucky He Did [Insert Whatever He Did Here]"
I am lucky that my partner is very involved in our family. I know this. I suppose it becomes more about semantics when praise falls onto my kids' dad, my partner, for doing absolutely anything (and again, same stuff I do all the time).
As a partnership in this household, where we're supposed to co-parent, I don't understand how I can sweat my butt off all day checking things off a list (doing more than my share frequently) without notice, while the moment he does a small portion it's blasted all over the headlines with awards and trophies and kudos. Why? Plus, I shouldn't be considered "lucky" for having a parenting partner that is involved. That should honestly be par for the course.
"That's Great That He Plays With Them"
Honestly, this compliment gets to me more than any other. I play with our kids everyday and yet, when their dad is home and after finally putting his phone away (which is some feat), he may play for awhile and it's all my kids remember and everything family and friends talk about.
Don't most parents, including dads, play with their children? How is it even a compliment to basically say "oh, you're spending time with the person you created, how awesome!"?
"What A Good Guy"
He really is a fantastic guy! However, we all have our flaws. I've pointed mine out, in writing, many many many (too many?!) times, in fact. And still, I wake up every day and try to be someone my kids can look up to, someone I can be proud of, and someone people will say, "What a great gal!" about, too.
Reality is, he's the one who hears these things, while I'm just the background noise.
"Not All Dads Wake In The Middle Of The Night"
When my kids were wee ones, their dad woke in the night to change and/or feed them, and often. This is as it should be, you guys. Parenting is hard. If you have a partner involved then, yes, he or she should be part of these things. It's a given. You helped make the baby, then you get to help take care of the baby!
I don't remember anyone praising me for getting up every night and taking care of my babies all day while my partner worked. The double standard isn't cool.
"He Deserves A Day Off"
I wouldn't disagree, except that my partner is pretty good at finding ways to shut out the world and carve our time for himself. Whether it's staying up late to play a game on our game console, or sleeping in while I'm up with the kids before school, he gets time off every chance he gets. Me? Yeah, I'm still working, but thanks for noticing.
I'm grateful to be in a relationship with the kind of man who cares for me and our kids, and I know how much he loves us, so I don't mind when others compliment his efforts. However, when freely passing these out, you might also want to think of the woman doing these things regularly and without praise, too. Chances are, she's the real magic maker in the house — the one who makes it easier for her partner to accomplish all he does.