Being a dad is awesome. I love it. When I get to pick my daughter up in the afternoon, it’s the highlight of my day. However, as I have become a father, it’s become increasingly clear to me that gender roles and stereotypes, both for the parents and for your child, are blatantly obvious in today’s society. Here are five that drive me up the wall.
1. Men’s restrooms without changing tables. Us dad’s – most of the time – are completely willing to contribute and change the dirty diaper, but after throwing the diaper bag on one shoulder and the baby on the other, it’s infuriating to get to the bathroom and find that there is no changing table. At that point, you have two options – admit defeat and ask mom to do it, or get creative and try to change the baby on the bathroom counter. It’s a lose-lose.
2. Toys that are separated by gender. Why is the easy-bake oven in the “girl” toy aisle, while any sporting equipment is in the “boy” toy aisle? If my daughter wants to play sports – and I have every intention of giving her that opportunity – then she should have more options to choose from than a pink glove with Cinderella’s face on it.
3. People that look down on working moms. Because of our financial situation, we need my wife to be working, and it’s incredibly hard on her. All she wants is to be home with her daughter, helping to raise her. What my wife is not is less of a wife and mother for working. She is a saint that is sacrificing so much, working her butt off to help provide for her daughter. So to anyone that thinks that working moms are less of a mother than those that stay home, you infuriate me.
4. The modern portrayal of goofy dads. I feel that, in order to get away from the tough-necked, stern, by-the-rules dads of the 1950’s, society went too far the opposite direction. All we see now in pop culture are dads that say “I don’t know, ask your mother,” that are goofy and silly and command no respect or authority. Fathers play a critical role in the lives of this children, and watching pop culture demean that role into something goofy, clumsy and unintelligent does little to encourage active and engaged fatherhood.
5. Feminine everything. When you’re stocking up on all the essentials of bringing home a newborn – diaper bag, changing pad, stroller, car seat, etc,. – you notice that everything is geared towards the mom with a feminine, sleek style. That’s fine, but when dad needs to go run errands with a floral-print diaper bag and a baby strapped to his chest, he doesn’t feel too masculine. It would be nice for some dad-centered essentials. Maybe if there were some more neutral – or even manly – options, dad’s might not seem so embarrassed about carrying them.
Parenting should not be a battle of the sexes, it should be a unified front that caters to moms and dads equally, giving them the tools to be on the same page without one feeling more or less comfortable than the other.
What are your thoughts? Please leave them in the comments below!