We are living in the year 2020 and as much as we would like to believe that we have evolved and progressed as a society, we still have a long way to go. We are still baffled when we come across a stay at home dad or if a guy says he loves pink and doesn’t dig video games or soccer. The truth is we still hold certain expectations from each gender, and cannot wrap our heads around the fact that a dad could be a great parent. We often complain about dads not being more involved in parenting and household duties, but are we really ready to accept someone who does without any judgment or petty remarks?
Recently a dad vented on Reddit about the bizarre treatment he and his child were subjected to whenever they were alone, and how it isn’t just discriminatory to moms, but insulting to dads as well (1).
A dad with a 7-month-old infant shared several instances where he faced silly and invasive comments about taking care of his baby without his wife to help him. The Reddit user opened up on how his family always acts surprised when he babysits his child and asks him, “Oh, you’re babysitting today?” as if it isn’t his responsibility as much as the mom’s.
The dad says how a man can do just the bare minimum as a parent and still earn praise from people around him. The Reddit user says that though it’s weird, it is mostly well-intentioned and things could get much worse.
He goes on to explain another instance where the comments got weirdly hostile towards his wife. The man says that whenever his wife goes for a night out and he would be in charge of looking after the kids at home, she would have to deal with comments like, “Oh, you are leaving him to manage all by himself?”
He points out how nobody ever asks the dad such questions when he’s out having fun while the mom stays home and looks after the kids. But when a mom does the same, she has to deal with such remarks.
He continues, “That was one thing. That was people who knew us so had some grounds to make those still pretty out of bounds, uninvited and inappropriate comments.”
But when people outside their friends and family circle started passing comments, he wasn’t prepared for it. The dad recalls the day he was with his baby at the park. His baby needed a diaper change, so he laid the little one on the back of his car’s truck in the parking lot. A lady with a stroller approached him and asked if he needed any help. Thinking he was talking to someone else in distress, the dad looked around only to realize that she was talking to him. He then let her know that he is fine. Instead of leaving them alone, the woman asked if it wouldn’t be better to wait for the mom for back up.
The dad says how the whole encounter was bizarre and made him feel uncomfortable. He wished that people kept their distance. He further explains how the lady snorts dismissively when he assures her that he’s good and doesn’t need help.
Unfortunately, the dad had another awkward public interaction when he was at a store with his baby to buy some groceries and baby stuff, and things got weird this time as well. While scanning the baby items, the checkout lady asked if he was sure he didn’t want to wait for the mother before check out in case he got the brands wrong as they don’t accept returns. After informing her that it was just them, the lady goes, “She left you to watch the baby and do the shopping! Where do I find a guy like that?”
The Reddit user goes on to say that it’s not other people’s place to comment when they have no clue if he is a single dad or if his wife is busy at work or home. He further says that men can be just as great a parent as women and that there are men who genuinely want to have kids and spend more time with their family. He ends his post by asking people to keep their weird and invasive comments to themselves.
Many moms and dads took to the comments section to say that they couldn’t agree more with the post, with several men empathizing with the father.
While it’s truly unfortunate that men have to deal with such remarks, let’s hope that we, as a society, become more accepting and welcoming of men who strive to be equal partners instead of making them feel bad about it.