Dear Holly: The Convenient Double-Standard for Average, Involved Dads

19 weeks.

Dear Holly: The Convenient Double-Standard for Good Dads

Dear Holly,

Last Friday I took off of work since your daycare was closed. While most of my day was spent changing your diapers, feeding you, and playing with you, we did get out of the house when we not only dropped off your brother Jack at school, but later went back to eat lunch with him there at the school cafeteria.

You had a wet diaper as we arrived at his school about 15 minutes early. I didn’t care enough to find the proper place to change you, as I didn’t want to tote your car seat and my book bag (with your diapers) with me, so I just changed  you right there on the bench I was sitting on; which was sort of hidden by the staircase above me.

Afterwards, I stood you up in my lap to face the oncoming students, teachers, and room moms. Of course they all made a point to smile back at you and tell me how beautiful you are.

A few minutes later, we saw your brother Jack leading the line. While carrying you, the car seat, and the book bag, I attempted to follow him in to help him get his lunch.

Mommy usually makes his lunch, but on Fridays, he buys the school lunch, because he can get vegetarian pizza that day. Unfortunately, they had just ran out of pizza and gave him a pork sandwich instead by the time I caught up to him.

Miraculously, his class’s room mom appeared and helped us negotiate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead; even though you had already paid for the pork sandwich.

We ended up sitting with the room mom and her daughter. She commented that she had seen me sort of struggling there with you as I had to find a place to change your diaper.

As we left after lunch, other moms and teachers bragged on me for simply showing up; even if my attempt was a bit awkward and unskilled.

That’s when I began to process to convenient double standard of the good dad:

I simply get praise and credit for just doing my job. Whereas for moms, they are simply expected to do those things.

Granted, the trade-off is that dads and husbands have been historically portrayed as idiots on commercials and sitcoms.

Maybe the ultimately irony is that less is expected of us dads because of the way we’ve been negatively portrayed in media, so that when we are caught “being a good dad”, it makes it seem that much more special, which it totally isn’t.



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