Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Are we there yet?

So Jenna Karvunidis from High Gloss and Sauce is mad at stay at home dads.

What great crime against society did they do this time?

Was it daring to volunteer as a helper at school?

Was it asking if her kids wanted to play together?

Oh no, much worse than that, they were featured in a story in the newspaper.

Oh, the humanity.

She writes, "I love how they throw that in there like dads are extra special for momming AND doing things men traditionally do (I guess.)"

She has to say, I guess, because the article doesn't say these are men's jobs. But she does refer to a man taking care of his own kids as "momming." She is blind to her own prejudice.

Most stay-at-home dads I know look forward to a time when the bar isn't so ridiculously low for men. We look forward to a time when there are not articles about stay-at-home dads because there is nothing seen as unusual about it.


We're Not There Yet

Because stay-at-home dads are not valued the same as stay-at-home moms.

We're Not There Yet

Because dads don't have equal access to play groups.

And while some groups are working on that.

We're Not There Yet

Because dads don't have equal access to parental leave.

We're Not There Yet

Because PBS Parents showed this right before father's day.

But would never think of showing this right before mother's day.

We're Not There Yet

Because a children's television channel devotes itself to jokes like this and women think it is funny.

We're Not There Yet

Because dads are still shown as the incompetent parent and the butt of jokes in the media.

We're Not There Yet

Because dads are still told they are going to hell for raising their kids rather than a salary.

We're Not There Yet

Because men have to worry about taking the baby out because a place may only have a changing station in the women's restroom.

We're Not There Yet

It is true what stay-at-home dads do is not all that special. Women have been doing it for years and many still do it today. The bar for fatherhood shouldn't be "showing up" and stay-at-home dads is one group trying to raise the bar. But until we value parenting when a man does it as much as we do when a mommy does it, until we include dads when we talk about parenting issues, until we get past this idea that moms are naturally better parents, we're not there yet.

What is particularly frustrating about Jenna Karvunidis complaining about this article is that she has complained about dads volunteering at her kids school. She has said she is not comfortable having men in her playgroup. She is the problem

The original post has been removed so the text is below if you care to read it.

Get your buckets out, I'm about to rage vomit. Did you see the cover of the Trib today? ChicagoNow's very own stay-at-home-dad is on the cover for his stay-at-home-dad gig, the hardships of which are praised mightily. Of course they're praised now that a man is doing it. All hail the mighty stay-at-home dad! Dads! They so amazing!

I've got news, people. Women have been doing this job for centuries. Show me a cover of the Sunday Tribune about a mom doing the exact same thing. Has a mother ever been praised in all of history - genuinely praised, not condescended, but legitimized - for doing this job in all of its mundane facets? He's grocery shopping on the cover. A mom does it - a billion moms a day do it - and she's "spoiled" to be home with her kids. I live a life of "leisure" full of bon bons and soap operas. Sure, we traded our mothers moo-moos for yoga pants, but the same dismissal is there. But the second a man does it? A stay-at-home-dad? Oh, hell, it's a damn hardship on the front page of the Chicago Tribune. Yes, journalism is dead.

"[The stay-at-home-dad] scrambles to find time to work out, install a sink, do laundry, clean the play room and get dinner started". IT SAYS THIS. Yes, please, tell us how you struggle. Isn't it just "adorable" how a dad does "mom" stuff and it's a real accomplishment and we're supposed to pat his head? And please, yes, tell us how many sinks you installed. I love how they throw that in there like dads are extra special for momming AND doing things men traditionally do (I guess.) I refinished all the furniture upstairs when I was behemoth pregnant and had two children in my care. My mother-in-law shingled a roof during my husband's nap time. Where are our lollipops?

Listen to this, "[these dads] care much less about being perfect". Hmmmm, guess why? Guess why dads don't have to worry about being perfect? Because they're praised just for showing up. I'm sick of this! If a mom were quoted in the paper as wiping her child's mouth with the sock she is currently wearing, well, I can't even imagine.

I'm not criticizing dads staying home. Families all have to make decisions that work for them. Childcare and income responsibilities don't need to be assigned by gender. The problem I have is that women who stay home are perceived as pampered and their work is invisible, but a man in such a role is celebrated with a front-page article. Why is it suddenly such a hard job when a man has to do it? Why is staying home a legitimate contribution when the contributor has a penis?

If you want to remove the stigma from stay-at-home-dads, then don't treat them like special snowflakes. Legitimize the work women do and there will be no stigma when a man does it.

Rage. Beast. Angry. It especially smarts they chose this man, who put my maternity pictures on his Facebook page and solicited "thoughts" about my body. Remember? The pictures I posted when I wrote about being pregnant with a dead baby? Cool times.

I guess the Tribune is right: stay-at-home dads don't have to worry about being perfect. (They just have to show up.)

Would you take a minute to help me make a difference. I am asking ChicagoNow to follow their own Comment Policy. Please sign the petition.

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