Over the last couple of decades there has been a great deal of criticism on how society has gone soft on kids; making them all feel like winners, and giving trophies or praise where it doesn’t belong. Well, what about parents? It feels like every time I get on social media I find a post of some parent doing what parents should be doing, like being awesome for their kids, only to see the comments section rife with comments from posters saying something to the effect of, This is what a Super Mom/Dad looks like or Greatest Mom/Dad ever!! When in reality, that’s what simply being a parent looks like.
Society as a whole shares just as much, if not more, of the blame for the continually skewed view of parental roles. Far too often we still see advertising perpetuate stereotypes of dads being the lesser option to moms. And while there has been a good deal of progress on this front, it still leaks over into every day encounters.
When my son was ready for his 18 month checkup, it fell to me to take him to his appointment. My Wife and I had gone to every milestone appointment together, as we both wanted to be there to ask questions and hear how our little guy was doing. Unfortunately, my Wife had work engagement that could not be missed, and this one time it was up to me to get all the info.
It crushed the Wife not being able to be there. She loaded me up with questions to ask (on top of my questions), but she knew I had it covered and would fill her in on all the details when she got home. There was never a doubt in her mind I could handle it, because as parents and partners we believe in each other. In fact, the idea that one parent would be seen as more the parent than the other never really crossed my mind until I checked us in for the appointment; that’s when a simple comment by the nurse took my role in my son’s life and took a metaphorical Ginsu Knife and diced it all up.
As we were walking down the hall to the examination room my son was doing his typical flirting with the ladies (He takes after his old man), that’s when the nurse asked me if my Wife would be joining us soon. I said, “No, mommy is busy today….” to where she cut me off and said, “Ooooohhh, someone’s playing daddy for the day I see.” The comment hit me like a sledge hammer. I responded, “No, I’m dad every day.” At this point the awkward silence set in as the nurse clearly realized the comment she just made hurt. To her credit she attempted to correct it by starting, “Oh, no, what I meant was, most dads don’t…..” and I in return cut her off with the reply, “Well, I’m not most dads. Ok?” We just left it there and went about our appointment.