Nice to Give Mom a Break
David and I brought my mom and our then 2 ½ year-old son to Ireland. I think because we were with my mom and, well, people say we kind of look alike (stay tuned for another tale on that), folks didn’t think we were a married couple.
One late afternoon, in the lounge of a nice hotel, we were waiting for my cousin to meet us and drive with us to his home in Waterford for the next leg of our trip. Two women in their early sixties sat down across from us. They were from north of Dublin and in town for the weekend for a bird-watching tour with other folks their age. We would chat amongst ourselves and then chat as a larger group with the two of them. While we were helping our son eat his food and drink from an adult glass, we overheard the ladies talking to themselves:
Lady 1: My George NEVER would have done that for me.
Lady 2: Don’ wha?
Lady 1: Give me the afternoon off and take care of the kids!
They not only didn’t think we were a two-dad family but they were shocked that men were showing interest in caring for a child. We were “good lads” letting the moms “take the afternoon off” from parenting. It’s kind of comical on some level, especially when Lady 2 saw we were wearing matching wedding bands and was trying to gently kick her friend while muffling, “D’er married to eech udder!” But overall, it’s insulting to all dads, to all moms, to all parents and guardians, who are doing their best to raise their kids and want to be involved in all aspects of parenting. No one at our table was getting a break. We were both monitoring our son. He was behaving, but he could have very easily been stir crazy trying to run around the hotel, where a wedding reception was gathering. Further, if we did have wives who weren’t with us, why should it be considered “their jobs” and “a perk” that they got an afternoon off?
Something that needs to change is believing it’s the mom’s job to take care of the kids all the time and that when dads are involved they are doing moms a favor. While it’s seemingly nice that you think dads are being charitable, it’s also condescending to all parents.