I hate that term! It is not daddy day care, nor is it babysitting; it’s called parenting! Dads, like mums, have a responsibility and duty to care for their child. With this in mind I want to share some recent experiences when my husband has had the children, a 2-year-old toddler, and 11-month old baby. He is a wonderful dad and so having time alone with the children is not unusual in itself. What is noteworthy is the reaction he got from strangers for doing what I, and thousands of women do on a daily basis. Why? Because he is a man. Now, don’t get me wrong, of course there are many stay at home dads, but I am sure they also get a different reaction to mums.
Here are just 2 examples of how my husband has been treated when taking the children out verses my experience in nearly exactly the same situation:
Situation: My daughter’s hairband has fallen out and needs it put back in. I would like to point out here that this happens almost hourly, usually because she manages to look like she has had a fight with her hair 10 minutes after it has been brushed and to stop her looking like a character from Annie we need to tame it.
Me – Put her hair up in the middle of a busy high street. People sigh that I have stopped in an inconvenient place. Most people don’t see me or the children and continue about their daily business.
Husband – Puts her hair up in the middle of a busy high street. A well-meaning passer-by come over to say how lovely it is to see daddy doing her hair and complements my daughter.
Situation: Toddler falls over after insisting on walking despite having taken out the double pushchair and holding shopping. Toddler is absolutely fine and just a couple of tears.
Me – Flap with shopping, scoop up toddler whilst holding on to the pushchair with the baby in and avoid getting in people’s way, kiss the affected area better and persuade toddler back into the double pushchair.
Husband – stranger comes over immediately and offers to help, asks what would make it easier for him and praises him for taking both the children out by himself.
So perhaps next time we see a mum or dad struggling, or just dealing with the everyday, then give them a nod, a smile, a pat on the back. We don’t need strangers to validate how well we are doing, but it would be nice to think that BOTH parents, whether it be mums or dads, are told they are doing a bloody good job! I say well done mums and dads! Well done for doing what you do every day and keep it up.