I was minding my business the other day, watching TV, when I came across what I thought was a funny (albeit stupid) commercial:
Haha, “typical dad” can’t get away from his power tools and uses them to drill holes in the chicken. Funny. But then the tagline gave me serious pause. “Ragu – Mom’s Favorite For A Reason.”
Um. Wait a minute. The whole commercial was about a dad (and the mom, but primarily about the dad) getting his kids to eat dinner and then you close with that tagline. Does anyone else see what’s wrong with this?
And it’s not just Ragu. It’s everyone. I bought some applesauce the other day and it said, “Trusted by Moms since 1912.” So Dads don’t trust it? What are we really saying when we exclude fathers from the parenting equation?
Society conditions us to think that caring for the family (and by extension, buying products for the household and making appointments and preparing dinner) is a woman’s job. Men, if they’re in the house, are supposed to make money. And that’s it. Even if the woman is making money as well, all that other stuff is still her domain.
Because I didn’t know I signed up to be in charge of everything. I really didn’t. We just kind of fell into these roles and we fell even harder when I decided to become a work-at-home mom. Up until about a week ago, I felt bad that the house wasn’t always clean when my husband got home at 5:30. After all, I had been home all day, right? But I had to remind myself that 1) he lived here too and has functioning arms and hands to tackle the mess 2) these are his kids too who make endless messes all day long and 3) just because I work at home doesn’t mean I should be working on the home while I’m here.
We need to push for more father involvement and recognition. Stop saying “Moms” when we mean “parents.” Parenting magazine might as well be called Moms Monthly.
Today’s fathers are much more involved than their fathers (remember when most of them weren’t even allowed in the delivery room?), but I still feel like we have a long, long way to go before there’s equality between the two parents. Of course, I don’t think we’ll ever get to the point where things are 50/50 and stay that way forever. I understand there’s a natural ebb and flow to family life and at times Mom puts in more effort and at times Dad puts in more effort.
But when society treats fathers as optional or invisible beyond what they provide financially, is it any wonder that Dad isn’t hopping up off the couch trying to see what needs to be done around the house? Don’t get me wrong – there are some outstanding dads out there who go above and beyond to provide their families both financially and emotionally. They’re on top of things. But they are viewed as the exception, not the norm. And that bugs me.
What do you think? Does it bother you the way society””both in popular culture and your day-to-day interactions””relegates fathers to the margin?