I saw this Instagram post recently… I think you know the one. If not, here it is…
It's a series of 9 illustrations depicting the double standards of parenting.
Since becoming a mother, I've noticed these double standards but really didn't pay it any mind because there's so much more to worry about. However, when I came across this post it was like "Finally! Someone is starting the conversation!"
Let's go back in time a bit to when Leroy and I were on rotation in 2021. On the days that I went to work, a couple people who knew I had a baby would randomly (after asking how the baby was doing) ask who was taking care of my baby while I was at work. It's always been the shock and awe on their face for me when I informed them that Leroy is home with her... and it would always be followed by statements like...
"Wow! That's so great that he's taking the time off to babysit her"
"He's so helpful and hands-on for watching her while you go to work"
Let me make my disclaimer one time.
This is not a stab at dads. We know there are many amazing fathers out there who love taking care of their children, providing for their family and being present for everything; my husband being one of them. This is really a stab at society - a society that applauds fathers for doing the bare minimum when it comes to caring for THEIR child, meanwhile perfection is expected from mothers... and if it isn't perfect, we are shamed or questioned on every little decision we make.
For example, if a dad carries his child to the paediatrician, he's so supportive, but when a mom does it, that's her job. Let's take it a little further... when a dad makes a mistake, let's say he dropped the baby (a little extreme but yeah), he would get the "oh men are hopeless lol" meanwhile, if it was the mom, she would get "What kind of mother would drop her baby?! You're obviously not ready for motherhood" or the wonderful blame her for his mistake "Why would she leave the baby with him?". The bar is honestly so low for fathers; it's absolutely ridiculous!
I think this all stems from the sexist mindset from the olden times where mom is the caregiver while dad is the provider so if the dad does anything close to caregiving, we heap on the praise for a job well done... but today, many moms are now providers as well so this mindset is really outdated. Furthermore, in many situations, the roles have been reversed, flipped, etc. etc. etc. - there are now many stay-at-home dads.
However, this sexist mindset has now evolved in that moms who work 8 hours a day are expected to get home and take care of their child(ren) for another 4-5 hours... without getting tired.
Also, it should also be noted that a mother is really never off-duty when she goes to work.
Show of hands to those mothers who get calls from their children's schools, babysitters, etc. regarding something their child did or did not do! Show of hands if you've ever had to pump, try to figure out how to do your child's school project or make grocery lists while at work. The job of a mother is never really done; it just flows one into the next and we are masters of multitasking.
As annoying as this is, it also makes me super grateful for my husband. Leroy does so much and I never really have to ask. From changing Xaryah's countless diapers and bathing her to getting up early when she does so I can get an extra hour or 2 of sleep. Even when I express this gratitude, he would subtly remind me that Xaryah is his daughter too and I didn't make her on my own. It's his job as well and he enjoys it.
I have to admit though... sometimes I can't shake the mom guilt when he does a little more than me. What has society done to us?! Sighhhh...