I’m a happy father of 3, and even though I’m working a lot, I try to spend most of my free time spending quality time with my kids. This includes playing with them, cooking, or helping them doing their homework. I love it and they love it too.
Unfortunately, I often face some kind of ordinary sexism when it comes to dads parenting.
Every time my wife’s away for a few days, leaving my with the kids, her friends offer to invite the kids “to cut me a little slack”. I know I’m not the only one, and it sounds nice from them, but the truth is different.
Oh, you’re leaving your husband all alone with the kids? My, what a terrible time ahead. They’ll spend the whole weekend in front of the TV, eat ham and pasta at every meal, and they won’t leave the house at all. He’ll forget to change the diapers, and will leave your home in a terrible mess you’ll spend weeks to clean. Last time my husband was home alone with the kids, he forgot to pick them up at school, left them alone doing every possible foolishness, burnt all the pans and phoned me to ask if he had to wait for the water to boil before he adds the pasta.
I’m not playing the “not all dads” game here. The fact that your husband might not be at the top when it comes to parenting doesn’t mean other men aren’t.
Dads love parenting, and they’re great at it.
Thinking that your husband, or your best friend’s is unable to take care of the kids and house is the same as people saying that women should be paid less than men because they’re less capable, that their place is at home parenting and doing the housing, or that they had their job because of a short skirt and deep cleavage. In one word: sexism.
It’s 2017 and the modern dad knows that:
The kids deserve better than spending the whole weekend in front of the TV. It’s actually Saturday 11:00 AM, the homework is done and the whole family (minus mom) is ready to leave home to visit the Greek department of the Louvre museum / the Dark Age department of the Museum of Army (because of the badass knights arbors) / a walk in the forest / whatever they’d love to.
The youngest leave school at 4:20, the eldest at 4:30, they only go to the post school studies on Monday and Tuesday, and they use half priced train tickets, but they need their ID card for this.
Ham and pasta are old fashioned and the only reason he cooks them some sausages and (homemade) mashed potatoes is because he loves that too. He also cooked a delicious veal stew, a wonderful boiled chicken, and will only take them to the restaurant because it’s a way to stay longer at the museum.
The bedroom needs to be tidy between the shower and dinner time. Kids get easily dirty so they need to wash at least once a day, and change their clothes every morning. Their daughter is way cuter with a freshly ironed dress, which he does perfectly by the way.
Kids need to go to bed early during the week, and a bit later during the weekend, because we’re all watching that wonderful Blu Ray of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland so they all sing the Unbirthday Song together, and run around in circles on Monday morning shouting I’m late, I’m late for a very important date / No time to say hello goodbye! I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!
When a kid is sick at night, they need to change the sheets and put the dirty ones in the washing machine even though it’s 4AM and they’re tired. A warm hug and go back to sleep! And no milk for breakfast.
Half a dozen 5 years old little boy at a birthday party need to be taken care of all day. They have already imagined some cool outdoor games, and even have an indoor B plan just in case.
Indeed, when you come back home, with the kids ready to go to be and a perfectly clean house, he’ll look exhausted as if he just ran a marathon, but only to make you feel guilty for leaving him without anyone to take care of him. So next time your friends will be worried because they’re living the kids home alone with their dad, just reply “I don’t know why you’re worrying. Every time I leave, things go wonderfully. He loves it, and the kids love it too”.
Indeed, when dad’s home alone with the kids, things are a bit different. Techno from Detroit blasts the house all day long, the food budget gets an all time high, they have a fresh orange juice for breakfast because dad doesn’t like industrial one, and they laugh much more than usual: “when the cat’s away the mice will play”.
For me, it’s time to go, I need to book some tickets for the Dark Age exhibition at the Science Museum and go to the butcher to order a chicken and some stuff for the filling.