Friday, March 22, 2013

Just Another Brick in the Wall

Since the National At-Home Dad Network started the campaign against the term "Mr. Mom" the response has been generally positive.

But some people don't think so.

For some it is the love of the movie.

Some consider it a badge of honor.

Some have named their blogs after it.

To be clear, getting rid of Mr. Mom won't suddenly make being an active father easier.

It won't make an ignorant pastor change his point of view.

It won't suddenly convince misinformed mothers that dads are equal parents.

What it will do is remove one very visible brick from the wall.

The wall that separates parenting into Mom duties and Dad duties.

And there is a wall. Parenting issues are still code for Mom issues.

We don't ask, can parents have it all? We ask, Why Women Still Can’t Have It All

And while feminist can argue about choosing to stay home there is still an assumption that mom is the one that can truly parent.

"She believes that every household needs one primary caretaker, that women are, broadly speaking, better at that job than men...."

And these attitudes have real impacts in the world. From our policies to baby changing stations.

When I first started as the primary caregiver 13 years ago it was next to impossible to find a changing station in a men's restroom. We were members at the local zoo and I took my son there a lot. I complained because they didn't have a changing station in the men's restroom. I didn't do it to be an activist. I did it because I was a paying member and I wanted to be able to change my son's diaper in the convince of the bathroom.

Now I look beyond just me. I want to change the world.

When my sons grow up, and if they are blessed enough to be fathers, I want them to deal with less societal pressures. If they have jobs I want talks about work/life balance to include them. If they choose to stay home for their families I want them to do it without having to worry about how they will be treated for that choice or worry about finding a changing station in the men's room.

Changing the world may start with doing what is best for my family, but it doesn't stop there.

So I will work to end a term that implies that dad is a fill-in, a temporary place holder for the person who should actually be in that position, Mom. I will work to remove one more brick from that wall.


DadNCharge said...

Chad, I think you said it perfectly. We are the role models and teachers for the next generation who will hopefully think nothing of a man staying at home or a woman staying at home and only see a parent instead. Your link to the ignorant pastor has me fuming and I feel a post coming on, so I appreciate you bring that to our attention. I know so many great dads who defy the stereotypical bumbling dad and the clueless "Mr. Mom" supporters. Let's just hope that all the work we do working towards changing people's viewpoints starts to become the new norm. Great post!

kirkaug said...

Great post, but now I have to go listen to Pink Floyd. Sometimes you gotta change the world. Sometimes you gotta listen to Pink Floyd.

Chad said...

With an iPod you can do both. :)

Thank you both for the kind words.

Christian Toto said...

Hollywood would have a heckuva time remaking Mr. Mom today. Times change, and it's about time the "dad as bumbler" meme went away. Now excuse me while I staple a diaper onto my son :)