Channeling his best Nancy Reagan, this dad blogger wants to squash the idea that men and women can be equal parents in any way. Tongue, meet cheek.
Moms are screwed. They have a thankless job, serving as the paradigm of parenting, assumed almost by default to know what they’re doing when it comes to raising kids, and having the contradictory burden of high expectations while simultaneously being taken for granted.
They are the standard bearers and when they fail, they are vilified. There’s nothing society hates more than a bad mom. Never mind that women, like men, contain multitudes, and just having the biology to grow a life doesn’t mean every single female is meant to be a mother or even wants to be one. God forbid women try to “have it all” and be something in addition to being a mother. Goddamn feminists!
Dads, meanwhile, have it made. Unless a rising band of crusaders — which includes both a Hogwarts graduate (did they actually graduate?) and some fellow dad bloggers — succeeds in ruining everything for us.
Despite what Emma Watson may lead you to believe, parenting equality is a BAD idea. Particularly for dads.
Wake up, guys: nothing is better than low expectations. Stop bellowing about fathers needing equal treatment and stop demanding positive representation in the media and stop making noise about respect and recognition. All you’re doing is raising the bar! Soon, instead of being praised for somehow successfully feeding my son, it will just be assumed that I can handle such mundane parenting duties. You’re eroding our excuses and making life more difficult!
Moms are expected to pull off actual parenting with no fanfare, no parades, no nothing. Dads are only expected to give it a shot, see what happens, and bask in the praise of (somehow) pulling it off. And if it doesn’t work out so great, oh well. Everyone understands; we don’t have breasts.
Being the second-string, junior varsity, dressed-for-no-reason bench-warmer in the parenting dugout is the best situation ever. When I’m called in for garbage-time duty or as an injury-replacement, I couldn’t be in a less tense, more comfortable position. Any parenting failures are pre-ordained, any successes are pleasant surprises. That’s what I call a win-win.
What are we complaining about anyway (aside from not having breasts)? I love it when some condescending mom refers to my role in my son’s life as “babysitting.” Babysitters don’t have to do shit but keep the kid alive, which: so far so good! I want the moms at the playground to think about calling the police when they see me chasing a child around the jungle gym. That way, when they find out I’m actually not a criminal, just a father innocently playing with his son, they’ve been treated to a more heartwarming worst-to-first story than Kurt Warner’s! It makes me feel like a million dollars.
The alternative — the equality some of my peers are fighting for — is much less appealing. A world in which I’m expected to be able to retrieve the proper items off of a grocery list? (Seriously? I’m just a caveman!) A world in which I’m expected to know which kind of cereal is my son’s favorite? (You mean it’s not Mueslix?) A world in which I’m expected to know my son? (Gross! Feelings = bad!) That’s not a world I want to live in.
I much prefer a world in which I’m thought to be so useless and disinterested that I shock and awe people with my ability to give my son a bath AND get him dressed AND brush his teeth AND read him a bedtime story AND snuggle him to bed all on my own. But a world in which that’s simply part of every parent’s tool-set, regardless of their gender? And I’m actually supposed to be able to do it? Hell no. If everyone expects all fathers to do normal parenting things, to clearly and unabashedly love our kids and be attentive, dedicated parents, I’ll never stand out!
Right now, thanks to bad sitcoms and “funny” memes and dumb ads that show dads as bumbling morons and second-class parents, all I have to do is try just a little and I blow people’s minds. Because right now, there are only two options for fathers: Deadbeat or Doing His Best, and if you go even a little bit above and beyond – say, do your daughter’s hair or dance to an AMAZING Taylor Swift song – and you might end up on “The Today Show”! Or get a book deal!
But if we change the prevailing image of dads? Raise expectations? Stop allowing fathers to be demeaned and underestimated? Those opportunities will dry up. Loving our kids and being involved in their lives will become normal and expected for all of us and suddenly no one will think I’m special again. I’ll never get ogled by hot moms just because I’m letting my son put stickers on my face in public. How depressing. I don’t want to mediocre; I want to be a miracle!
Screw equality. I’m good with looking like the world’s greatest dad merely because I’m not being the world’s worst dad.
So cut it out with the protests and the indignation and the attacks on advertisers. Keep your mouths shut and soak up these low expectations. Otherwise you’re going to force dads to be recognized as parenting “partners,” not last resorts, and next thing you know we’ll be getting paternity leave like we’re living in the damn Netherlands. Guess what, we don’t live in the Netherlands. We live in AMERICA.
Now run and get Daddy a beer, the game’s on.
Originally appeared on Dad and Buried.
Photo: Flickr/Jonathan Gayman