– “Oh, just look at you!” Mom scans her daughter’s outfit and rolls her eyes. “Pink stripes on the top, orange check on the bottom. Guess we can tell who dressed you this morning!” (Hint: It wasn’t mommy, and it wasn’t the daughter.)
– “I just have to check her bin,” says mom as she rummages through the shelf where her child’s extra clothes are kept. “Jay said there were a couple of outfits in here, but I know what he considers an ‘outfit’. He has no idea.”
– “You might want to wash his face and hands, Mary.” Mom nods her head in the direction of her son. “His dad cleaned him up after breakfast, and he’s just never thorough enough.”
Each of these statements made by a mother about her child’s father. Each of these statements made by a mother who believes “he’s a good dad”. Each of these statements made in public, to me and in the presence at least one other parent.
I find it shocking, you know. I really do.
These are all good dads. They are involved. They do half the drop-off and/or pick-ups. They cook some dinners. They bathe the children, the play with them, the speak respectfully and fondly with the kids. They take days off when the child is sick. We all know there are dads who don’t do nearly so much.
And yet, if I were to go by what I hear…
They dress the children — and do it wrong.
They help organize the childrens’ things — and do it wrong.
They feed the kids — and do it wrong.
They play with the kids — and do it wrong.
Some days I wonder why they try at all. Must be because they feel a lot of love and commitment to their child, because heaven knows their wives/partners don’t express a whole lot of satisfaction in their efforts.
Does it matter, does it really matter, if the child is wearing stripes and checks? Or colours that clash? Is it life and death if a child’s face is somewhat less than spotless?
Does it matter so much that it’s worth embarrassing someone in public? Is it so important that it’s somehow all right to undermine someone’s honest efforts and belittle their abilities… not just in the presence of other adults, but in the presence of their children? Are we so insecure as parents, we mothers, that we have to sweat the small stuff just to feel superior?
I very rarely hear dads doing this sort of thing to moms, but moms do it all.the.time.
And I, for one, would like it to stop.