These days, and unfortunately, dads are "brave" for taking care of their kids. They're "brave" for being present and participating parents. They're celebrated for "babysitting," because apparently when a dad stays home with his own children it's called "babysitting." I don't remember the last time I paid my husband for being a parent and I'm pretty sure babysitters get paid, in cash. Then, there are the things people worship dads of daughters for that moms with daughters to every day, as if simply parenting someone of a different gender is an incredible milestone. Ugh.
Brave. What an interesting way to describe a dad for taking care of his children. Funny too, since mothers aren't considered brave at all, they are just, like, mothers. When I think of someone brave, I think of someone fearless, courageous, and heroic. I get it, parenting in itself is heroic. Raising human beings and making sure these human beings become good human beings and contributing members of society is courageous. But, like, how come mothers aren't also brave? That's a rhetorical question, because I'm fully aware of the double-standard in our society.
To be fair, men are becoming way more involved in their children's lives and that is a relatively new shift in parenting. I guess in some ways it should be praised and revered, but this new(ish) paradigm should be celebrated in a different context. Dads who parent should not be rewarded for doing what they should have been doing all along, our society should just welcome this "trend" in parenting as the new norm. Men who are parents should have always been parents. Instead, however, we are still praising dads for doing things with their daughters that moms do every day.
For Doing Their Daughter's Hair
I remember the first time my husband braided our daughter's hair. "Ooohs" and "ahhhs" quickly followed. "Look at what a great dad he is," someone whispered.
Wow, really? I used do her hair every damn day but no one handed me a medal for it. I don't know if people realize this or not, but men are fully capable of braiding hair, or putting hair into a ponytail. It isn't rocket science to do a simple braid and it's actually insulting to everyone involved to cheer for something like that.
For Taking Their Daughters To Dance Class
Remember that time I walked into the dance school (every Saturday) and everyone cheered for me for bringing my daughter? No? Oh, neither do I.
My husband remembers though. It remains one of this proudest moments. What these cheering people don't know is that my husband takes our daughter to most of her activities because of his far more flexible work schedule. He is one of the only dads at most of these places, so the other moms look upon him as if he is some sort of national treasure. It's actually quite telling.
Getting Their Daughters Dressed
The first time my husband dressed our daughter, she looked like the queen of the misfits. Not only was the outfit inexcusably mismatched in patterns and colors, but it was also entirely misguided in seasonal appropriateness. The whole thing was one huge stereotype. It was a moment for a sitcom.
Do you know what would have happened if I dressed her like that and took her out in public? I know: death stares from other parents. Calls to child protective services from other mothers. CPS would probably need to add another line just to take on the burden of the phone calls about the psychopath mother who dressed her daughter during winter like she's going to some clown camp in the summer.
My husband, however, got an, "Aw, you are so cute and great. The relationship you two have is adorable." I think someone probably nominated him for Dad of the Year award that day.
Yeah. Where's the justice people?
For Taking Their Daughters Shopping
Typically I shop for the kids, but sometimes (read: always) I have to do 50 things at once and my husband takes our daughter for something simple, like pants. While I get an earful at home about how he just doesn't "know which kind of pants to get her" and "what if she picks something that isn't appropriate," he gets praised by the store employee for being brave.
Brave! You know who is brave? The woman who takes three kids under the age of 5 to go food shopping. She is brave.
For Taking Their Daughters To The Potty
I don't know who wrote the rules of bathroom etiquette, but I ain't buying them. I, too, deserve to have an uninterrupted meal, and if I can take our son into the bathroom with me, my husband should be able to take our daughter into the bathroom with him. Aside from the fact that anyone should use whatever bathroom they freaking please, I cannot stand the looks I get when I ask my husband to take our daughter to the potty.
Trust me, people, men are perfectly capable of taking their daughters to pee. They don't require applause for doing so.
For Bathing Their Daughters
This goes along with the entire bathroom scenario. My husband used to bathe our daughter almost every night when I was working and studying. Upon finding out this, apparently completely insane, fact, people lost their ever-loving minds. "Wow, but he is a man!" they'd say in disbelief. "That's amazing. Good for him, I guess."
Yes, he is a man. Thank you for your observation. He is also her father and that means he is her parent. So yes, he will parent her just as much as her mother will parent her and that includes bath time.
For Dancing With Their Daughters
I mean, this one is especially cute. It's lovely watching a dad dance with his daughter. It's sweet and I do truly enjoy watching my husband swoop our daughter up into his arms and spin her around. My heart nearly busts with love for the both of them.
However, I dance with my kids all the time. I jump around, throw my hands up in the air, and perform dance moves no one should be subjected to seeing just to make my kids laugh. No one walks over and tells me how amazing and beautiful I am for dancing with my kids. Not a single person. Not a single time. What's up with that?
For Doing Anything That Isn't "Girly" With Their Daughters
My husband takes our daughter go-karting, to jiu jitsu, and hiking. He fosters a love for all activities without assigning gender. This is how it should be, right? It seems obvious martial arts are not "just for boys." In fact, no activity is "just for" a specific gender. It's ludicrous to assign gender to toys and hobbies.
Yet, when my husband teaches our daughter how to use a screw driver, or when they play video games together, the world puts him up on a pedestal. Like, a pretty high pedestal.
Umm, hello? These aren't celebration-worthy things, people.
For Pretty Much Anything That Isn't Considered "Masculine"
I'm sure this list will grow the older our daughter gets. I am sure my husband will get praised for doing so many more things with our daughter that I seriously do every day. I'm sure he'll talk to her about boyfriends, and probably buy her feminine products, and will do all sorts of things "men aren't expected to do." I'm sure he'll get the applause while I get the criticism. Seems like a fair split, isn't it?
Honestly though, this whole charade is a bit insulting to dads, isn't it? To me, calling a dad "brave" for simply being a parent is the same level of disparaging as calling a woman "brave" for wearing a two-piece bathing suit on the beach. In some ways "brave" has become a backhanded compliment.
Well, my husband is not brave. He is a dad. He does what dads do. He parents.