Dad Double-Standard: Father of the Year or Just Doing His Job?
THE MOST AMAZING DAD EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE, apparently. Husband, ex-husband, estranged life partner, former co-habitating legal spouse — I’m not sure what to refer to Serge as anymore. We have children together. We live apart. One thing is for sure: Serge’s newly acquired status as single dad, divorcee, separated estranged man-with-kids has won him a lot of attention. How? So that brings me to the photo I snapped of Serge with the wagon. He looked cool, yes. He promptly posted it to his various social media thingamajigs and, as expected, the comments started rolling in. BEST. PHOTO. EVER. YOUR KIDS ARE LUCKY TO HAVE YOU! But he’s just pulling a freakin’ wagon. What’s with him doing next to nothing and getting praised to the high heavens like he just lifted a truck off a toddler? But this single dad thing? Every Band-Aid administered, every incident of baby-wearing, every act of parenting becomes EPIC. You want to know what happens if I post a photo of me taking my kids for a walk? Nada. I don’t want to discourage the fellas from taking parenting by storm but come on already. The fact that Serge is now a single dad means the dude isn’t going to have to pay for meals at any restaurants he takes the kids to, so great is the desire of every waitress to comp his stellar dad-ness. Like boarding a plane with a baby, people assuming the worst about your kids’ behavior give you the Stink Eye. But dad alone with kids at restaurant? Legend-wait for it-ary. Do I sound like I have sour grapes? I hope so! or super sexy just by virtue of being present while women with babies and kids are just regular old, soccer moms. Frankly, the men should find it equally offensive to be praised so effusively for accomplishing everyday parenting tasks. It’s kind of like cheering for an injured athlete who manages to take their first steps after surgery; taking a step is really no big deal, it’s just that the person taking it has undergone special circumstances. Just calm down already about dads doing normal stuff with their kids. If we keep making routine acts of dad-hood such a huge deal our boys will never learn that this bottle-making, baby-wearing, ponytail-creating level of fatherhood isn’t superhuman. It’s what’s expected of them. A dad wearing his baby on his chest isn’t cause for celebration, and it doesn’t mean he’s the BEST. It just means he’s doing his job.