The first being the ‘babysitter dads’. You know, the ones who don’t know what they are doing. The ones who are comedy gold. The guys who will dress their kids in the wrong outfits. Those who will take parenting shortcuts, like the dad who went viral for vacuuming his daughter’s hair in to a perfect ponytail (they laughed and called him resourceful. If it is was a mom, what’s the bet it would be irresponsible?). We’re talking about the guys who ‘can’t cope’ in standard parenting situations. Like the dad whose texts to his partner when their kid was throwing up in the car went viral. Those guys get a lot of laughs.
Then there’s the ‘superstar celeb dads’ that the media tell us moms to go puppy eyed for. Superstars because they do radical stuff like……..change diapers, feed their kids, brush their hair, babywear. The one’s the media place on a paternal pedestal. Not for going above and beyond, but simply for parenting. For doing the ordinary baby chores or ‘mom’ jobs. (Note, this is the same media who often tells us how dangerous it can be to overpraise our children. But for grown men, it seems ok…)
As long as the media continues to simplify its definition of ‘dad’ and promote problematic gender roles, the true diversity of modern fatherhood will remain disguised, and more importantly, undermined.
Sure, there are dads out there who aren’t very hands on at home for one reason or another. There are moms like that too! Yes, there are dads that can and do struggle when flying solo with a baby. But there are also many many wonderful stay at home dads. Many dads who will do the school drop off and pick up. Many dads who will race home for that bedtime story. Dads who can change a diaper with their eyes closed. Dads who do the night feed. Dads who style their kids hair. Dads who just get the jobs done without thinking twice. With no elevated expectations of praise. You get the point….there are just so many everyday dads that fly under the radar.
The truth is, great dads come in all different shapes and sizes. The majority, like moms, are simply trying to do their best for their family. There really is no such thing as a secondary parent. Parenting isn’t a competition between mom and dad on who does what and how often. There is no one definition or one way to be a good dad. It’s about respect, love, support and compromise. Doing what works for the people you love.
So this Father’s Day, let’s celebrate dad diversity – all those dads who fly under the media radar. All those, who like moms, are learning on the job each and every day of their child’s life. Those who are always doing their very best and loving their very most.
Dads, we love you! We thank you! We appreciate all you do for us, and with us. Happy Father’s Day!