A Father Looking After His Kids Isn't a Mother, He's a Parent.

30/06/2016 16:50

Dads, here's formula for how to make a post go on viral on social media...

Write a lengthy confessional on how difficult it is being a parent, but then mix in a bit of dad magic - add how you didn't realise how hard 'mothering' your kids is; apologise to all the mums for how tough their life is; apologise to all the mums again for how easy dads have it; plus try and look handsome yet tired in accompanying photo of you and your kid/kids.

Seriously, try it. Get it in front of the right eyes, and boom - a viral post that will get picked up by news outlets in no time.

A recent one labelled himself DadMum, and his post falls back on a parenting myth/cliche that really needs to be consigned to the wastebasket of outdated ideas: That a dad taking care of his kids makes him a mum.

There's nothing wrong with being a mum. I'm married to one. She's great. But as things stand at the moment, I'm at home with the kid while she's working. I'm not 'being the mum' and she's not 'the dad' for working. We're parents - she's a working one, I'm at home.

I'm going to venture that the majority of people who share these Dad-Apologist posts and memes are not fellow dads, but mothers. A scan of the thousands of comments on them tends to confirm this.

It's tough being a mother. There is a whole genre of parenting posts by mothers about how tough it is being a mother. I've always seen it as an extension of the networks of fellow mothers they may have IRL. In tough times, it's always good to know you're not alone.

As a stay-at-home dad, you may think that these dad posts are the types I would share. Except, they're not aimed at me - they're for mothers too. These are dads playing 'mother', because they don't see the term fatherhood as related to the sustained barely organised chaos of being a parent. They're not alone - the term 'mothering' is still interchangeable with 'parenting' for much of society.

Mothers sharing these parenting role reversal posts is usually them saying 'look how cool this dad is - he gets it'. It helps if the guy is good looking too - a DILF if you will. The online world of parenting is full of them. But he's a fantasy. He is not a Dad turned mother. He's still a father. And they don't really get it at all.

Dad-Apologist posts reconfirm the view that the dirty, messy, grumpy, sleep deprived, stressful aspects of parenting are women's work. Yet the ability to support your family financially by having a career, and the enjoying fun times with your kids, is 'being a dad'. That 'the struggle' is a woman's burden alone.

By all means, lets celebrate and support fellow parents who are battling through tough times, but stop labelling dads who care for their kids as mothers. We're not. We're still dads, whatever we may post online to the contrary.

This is an abridged version of an article previously posted on Man vs. Pink. Please join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.