Whew, okay this one might step on some toes, fair warning up front, but it’s something that kicks around my brain occasionally and so, of course, has to end up here, right? Can we just talk about this? Can we just come right out and start a one sided dialog about this? How come it’s so easy to be a dad and ten times harder to be a mom in this day and age?
Here’s where the sexism comes in. I’m fully prepared to put out the flaming bags of dog poop on my doorstep over this one. But from where I sit, it’s absolutely true. I have evidence to prove my theory, wanna’ hear it?
OK, if a mother changes a diaper, no one thinks twice about it. She’s a mom, that’s her job. But if a man changes a diaper, Good God! There will be a diamond encrusted statue with gold plated foundation erected in his honor. The town will name a school after him and he will be crowned the best “hands on” dad that ever existed on the planet.
And that brings me to my next point, the term “hands on”. Have you ever noticed that this term only applies to men?
“He’s such a ‘hands on’ father. It’s so wonderful.” You never hear a mother being called “hands on”. She’s just a mother and that’s that.
If a father takes his kids for the day and they show up to the store with mismatched socks and chocolate on their face, people will look at him and smile. He’s trying his best. What a great man for taking care of his kids and spending time with them. If a mother showed up to the same store, with the kids in the same attire, people would think, she doesn’t have it together and her children are suffering for it.
Men, does it make you feel upset that the bar has been set so low for you? I remember starting night work for the first time and telling people that Andy was taking care of Henry. They would look shocked as if I had left him dipped in BBQ sauce with a wolf.
“Are you comfortable with that? Do you think he’ll be OK?” Dude, it’s his kid! I take care of him all day and no one looks at Andy that way. There were days, I swear, when they should have.
If it doesn’t make the men mad that the bar is set so low for them, it sure makes me upset that the bar is set so high for us moms that we can’t even see the darn thing. It makes me upset that moms feel they have to hide their feelings and emotions because they are afraid of social shunning, while fathers can fully express any feeling they have with a group of friends and no one blinks an eye.
A friend of mine once said that men’s idea of a “playgroup” would be a fenced in field with a fully stocked bar in the middle of it. I laughed and then thought, man, that sounds like a great idea. Which lead me to believe that this whole standard that we have for ourselves, moms I mean you, is set by us. We’re the ones making it so high and unachievable. We’re the ones giving each other side glances and thinking that because, at the moment, our kids aren’t screaming, we are better moms.
Yup, you’ve landed on my “mommy wars” blog! Tricked ya’, didn’t I? But the real “trick” is that I can’t offer any real solution to it. It’s been raging for generations and I really, as I sit here, can’t think of anything to do about it. The only thing I can offer is that it effects our kids. The “mommy wars”, for sure, effects how our kids view others and themselves. So many of us, myself included, say that we just want our kids to grow up to be kind. We teach them how to hug and say they’re sorry. But what good is teaching them when they see us do something totally different with our own peers.
I don’t want you thinking, either, that I’m chucking all of these stones and not living in a perfectly constructed glass house. Boy, I’m just as much a part of the “wars” as any mom. Look how I judged those women at the playgroup based on their clothing. I’m just as much to blame. I know that as Henry gets older and more observant, my actions will be noticed by him and he’ll learn to judge people by their appearance. It’s something I’m trying to put the brakes on as much as I can.
While, I can’t offer a very profound solution, I can say this, maybe the “mommy wars” would lessen if we all decided to put our big girl underwear on and acted a little more like men.