Nerves. And How I've Hit Them

If you commented on my last post, you are either in

Camp A: Rock On, Sister


Camp B: Shut It, You Screeching, Unappreciative Harpie

Now, I've been known to act like a screeching, unappreciative harpie at times. Nobody's perfect, not even me. I realize this will come as a shock to many of you.

But, I wasn't when I wrote that post. And neither are those of you who agreed with what I wrote.

I find it very interesting that those of you who could relate to my experience were female, and that those who expressed a dissenting opinion were males.

I wonder why it is that (at least on my little blog) many men not only fail to see how the double standard affects women, but also perhaps more frightening, fail to see that it exists at all.

I wonder why so many of you are experiencing the same anger I am over the excessive praise being heaped upon our husbands, who are, after all, simply being fathers spending time with their kids.

And I wonder why so few fathers are disturbed by the adulation they receive for their parenting duties. And why they're not angered that their wives are not afforded the same treatment for theirs.

Michael, with all due respect, no one who commented on my last post was bashing her spouse. The problem I highlighted must be pervasive, or else so many of my other readers would not have taken the time to comment and agree. I agree with you- there are great husbands and fathers out there. But it's been my experience that those who really step up and who find the excessive praise ridiculous are few and far between. And speaking only for myself here, I find this sad.

Our society's portrayal of the typical dad might be partly to blame, as Andy suggested. If all we see are clueless, blundering, witless fathers on tv and in movies, then any dad who actually whips up breakfast on a Sunday morning, or takes the kids to the playground is a hero in comparison.

But I guess my main point in all of this is that this stereotype, and the rockstar treatment of fathers that may or may not be born of it shouldn't only anger moms, who in my opinion have the hardest job on the planet and receive very little respect or adulation for their efforts. It should really piss off today's fathers too. Why aren't more dads attempting to un-do the stereotype by creating an equal parenting relationship in their homes? Why aren't more fathers angered by the expectation that their wives are the ones who are mainly responsible for raising their children into contributing members of society?

These are questions that perhaps have no answers. Or maybe they do. If you feel so inclined, please leave a comment and discuss, because I am really enjoying this conversation. And if you feel as if I'm beating a dead horse, well, you can tell me that too.

To my readers in the States, Happy Thanksgiving.

17 Responses to “Nerves. And How I've Hit Them”

  1. # Blogger Sasha

    You already know I agree with you and I find it really interesting that so many seemed to miss your point entirely in order to address their own "we are so bashed" agenda. Because that was not even the point.

    Yes, there are some men who take 50% responsibility and you know what? Those men get the ultimate reward not by cooing women in the coffee shop, but by their relationships with their children.

    For instance, my daughter wants her father at night when she is scared or when she falls and skins her knee. It is daddy she trusts most and (in many cases) seems to love most. And it is not just because he is a novelty. It is because he is the one who has spent the majority of nights up with her. He was the one who got up with our son during the four months he woke at 4 a.m. every morning. And guess what? My son now wants his daddy as much as his mommy and our daughter? Well, like I said, she likes him better.

    He does not do it so people will tell him in a coffee shop how awesome he is. He does it b/c he thinks it is his responsibility as the parent and b/c he knows that during the day, I bear the brunt of childrearing. We are equal partners, but I refuse to blow smoke up his ass b/c of it. He and I are both doing what we should do as parents and what everyone should be doing.

    So if he gets extra credit for being a male and doing it, hell yes, it pisses me off. I think that was your point. Not that all men suck, but that we ALL deserve credit for our hard work or no one should get bonus points since it is all part of the gender neutral PARENT (not mommmy) game.  

  2. # Blogger Andrew

    Hmm, I don't fit in either camp. Can you make a special one for me?  

  3. # Blogger Mom24

    I'm not sure there's only two camps either...but, I think Michael has serious issues. Wow.  

  4. # Blogger Mom24

    PS Have a wonderful Thanksgiving  

  5. # Blogger Veronica

    I didn't comment on the last post because I'm traveling on vacation, but this particular post made me want to express that I agree with your original post 100%.

    I see my sister's husband struggling to be treated -- and seen -- as an equal partner in the parenting duty. My sister is very good and letting him handle the nice work and the dirty work, so he has his fair share and he bristles at older relatives comments that he's so involved and isn't that amazing.

    My sister's husband is in an enviable position of course -- he and my sister can share the "primary" caregiver role because he works at home and he is on hand as much as my sister is available to my nephew. It's nice to see that there is hope for the next generation of parents coming down the line (my sister is younger).

    What I also enjoy seeing is my boyfriend and how he has handled parenting duties with his three kids. Even back in the day -- 1990s -- he was probably more of a "progressive" parent because he would be taking care of the kids as often as he could because he wanted to share in the parenting duties AND household duties.

    He has his way of doing things and it was just easier, back then and now, to let him do it. He'll be the one picking up after the kids (and me) and prefers to do the cooking and laundry.

    But, I don't treat any of that as though it's some 8th wonder of the world because honestly, if he didn't do it, I wouldn't do it either.

    I am appalled at the pressure that I feel that I should do the "womanly" duties, like cook and clean and serve him. I treat everyone equally, so his gender doesn't make him incompetent in traditional female areas, so why shouldn't he do it and more importantly, why should I?!

    I don't think there has been any husband or man bashing -- I'll be the first to jump up and defend the male gender because that's not the point either.

    The point is that we are living in a society that still pays women less amounts of money for the same work as men. We're still living in a society where the majority of CEOs in the Fortune 500 companies are managed by men. We're still in a society where we haven't elected a woman as VP or President of the USA. This is still a patriarchal society, even if we have advanced by leaps in the last 40 years.  

  6. # Blogger Sunny

    What an interesting couple of posts! It prompted a big discussion with me and my husband tonight.

    In our house, when hubby is home from work, we share child and household duties 50/50. He tends to work long hours during the week, so it is mainly the weekend that he spends time playing with and caring for our son. We have a habit of thanking and complimenting each other even for the mundane things (e.g. I will say, "Thank you for working so hard to support our family" or "Thank you for making dinner tonight." -- and he will say similar things to me about how I care for our child and our house, since right now those are really the main things I am doing). It's kinda cheesy, but it works for us, and we both feel genuinely appreciated by one another.

    I agree with you 100% that men should NOT be celebrated for "babysitting" (gag me) their own children or taking them out for activities without mom. It's sad, antiquated, and insulting to everyone involved. That being said, I do tend to steal more glances and smile to myself at a father out with his children... mostly because my husband rarely does this (not because he is unwilling, we just tend to spend weekends together) and it's the closest I can get to seeing what hubby and kiddo must look like shopping or whatever without me.

    I guess I don't really care if my husband (or other men) gets "pissed off" about the stereotypes and double standards... maybe it should bother me more? I imagine if someone tried to gush about him taking our child to a playdate, my husband would blush and say something like, "Of course, he's my son!" But as long as my husband is stepping up at home and setting a good example for our *gulp* soon-to-be three sons, I have hope that society is slowly growing to see parenting as a job for BOTH parents.  

  7. # Blogger Sugar and Ice

    Don't you love how comments like those are ALWAYS anonymous!  

  8. # Blogger Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog

    Oy vey. I posted before the Dads got their boxers in a bunch.

    We as women are ENTITLED to be upset that we are still not treated with equality. If we don't vent it out, how will there be discussion and without discussion how will change ever come about??

    My husband works out of the home. I stay home and homeschool. It's a GUARANTEE that I am with the kids 1000% more than he is. But he still does his best. I also babysit a little boy every afternoon and tend to help friends out often. (Meaning I may have 5,6, 7 or more children in my care at any given time.) However, when I mentioned that my husband had agreed to watch not only our 3 but also our friends' 2 this Friday? Our family and friends pratically stood up and cheered for him!

    "Wow! All 5? Is he sure he can handle it?!? WOW! How nice of him! WOWOWOWOWOWOWOW!"

    You get the idea.

    Oh, and the guy who said we should all stop blogging and enjoy our families more? Holy shit. You're lucky you are anonymous and online because Really? REALLY? You're going to use that line? You're going to suggest that a creative outlet is BAD for women??? You're going to suggest that we all hide in our homes, scrubbing toilets and baking pies so that we don't have any time to have original thoughts?

    Do NOT mess with me this week.

    Kristi - Happy Thanksgiving. Muwah.  

  9. # Blogger Holly at Tropic of Mom

    The other thing is I think it has the opportunity to hurt the children.

    Happy Thanksgiving!  

  10. # Anonymous Ness at Drovers Run

    Oh dear. It appears as though my ANALOGY was taken a little out of context. I could have used "Pavlovs Dog", but I chose a species that at least differs from us by only 3% genetic material. ;)

    Oh for those reading out there, that may need a little help? The top portion of my comment is known as SARCASM.

    Sorry if I angered some of your readers K!  

  11. # Blogger Melissa

    Great post, Kristi!

    I enjoyed reading every one of the comments and look forward to reading even more (as there are bound to be) when I return home. Great discussion. :-)  

  12. # Blogger Rachel

    I guess I do need a bit more sleep ... I just had to look through all of the comments to see if I had written something last time. And while I didn't, I did forward the blog post to my husband and ... crickets. Yup. No reply at all.

    I agree entirely with your first post and this one. In our family (where co-parenting clearly is not happening at the moment since we don't live together) we keep coming up against the same financial issues. My husband earns about 5 times as much money as I do/will in the future and thus it makes sense for him to take a high-paying job. But then his high-paying job doesn't 'encourage' sick days or taking a half-day to take the baby to the doctor. I want to go to a conference next fall and even though we'd have a nanny my husband would have to take vacation days if he wanted to be home by 7 or 8 pm for 4 days a row - there's no 'part-time' option which would allow him to work 9 to 7 and still be home in time to take over from the nanny. So I think the issues are much bigger than just giving credit for parenting. My husband is just as much frustrated that I am so underpaid (in a typically female job) that he needs to work a crazy job to support us. But until we have less wage discrimination and men are also allowed to take sick days when their kids are sick ... even in our liberal, feminist, conscientious parenting family we are reinforcing all sorts of terrible stereotypes for my daughter.  

  13. # Anonymous david scott

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of women who are deliberately trying to keep father's out of their childrens' lives for no good reason. This is unfair to the children and not in their best interest.

    Read my story here:  

  14. # Blogger teriincali

    I believe if you knew the totality of issues that fathers face just to be equal parents to their children, you might have a little more compassion. Don't be surprised if angry dads comment on your blog. They have good reason. You are not telling the whole story, and it's a story that desperately needs to be told.  

  15. # Blogger Sasha

    I am quite involved in the father's rights movement and believe STRONGLY in 50/50 custody arrangements, equal rights for men at the time of conception and think women who use their children as leverage are despicable.

    However, Kristi WANTS more involvement and less of a double standard. Do not use this post as a place to air those complaints since essentially we all want the same thing. Are you implying that she is keeping her children from her husband? Because that is absurd. If you want to reform family courts, there are better places to vent.  

  16. # Blogger Jayne

    Gawd, someone always has to use someone's observations of fact as a soapbox.
    Yes, men are praised for the ridiculously everyday things that mothers are expected to do but this can have a negative result; these comments while ego-boosting can also draw embarrassing attention and enforce the mindset that 'men don't normally do these things' so men tend to subconsciously stop doing them, digging their heels in when asked or avoiding them to 'fit in/ be one of the boys', thereby perpetuating the stereotype ad infinitum.
    So, as women and mothers we're damned if we do praise them and damned if we don't.
    No male bashing, just simple, factual observations.  

  17. # Blogger Simply-Mel

    My knew hey Kristy?

    Good on you for stirring the pot !(unintentional as it was)  

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