Have you ever scrolled through your Facebook or Twitter feed and seen a post from one of your lady friends saying something like, “Mommy friends I need help”? Then they go on to describe some sort of crisis about their kids and the comments are almost always and only from moms, aunts, other female friends, and grandmothers.
As a dad, I can’t stand these posts and here is why.
The idea that dads are still just a go-to-work-come-home-from-work-sit-in-front-of-the-TV-guy and an otherwise uninvolved and marginally interested fixture in their child’s life died years ago or is in the process of dying. Posts and questions like these from social media “mommy’s” only further the inaccurate portrayal of the idiotic, buffoon father who doesn’t know the difference between child Ibuprofen and adults Ibuprofen who are covered in flour in the kitchen where a fire is starting and the kids are making poop art on the walls.
Facebook and Twitter posts like these, however well-meaning, are a large portion of the reason I started writing parenting blogs from a dad’s perspective after and even before my son was born. To give men a needed and deserved voice on the internet when it comes to parenting issues, questions and concerns. The voices of responsible and interested fathers are being largely overlooked in the parenting world on Facebook, blogosphere and in social media in general. When Stacey (my now wife) was pregnant I did an insane amount of research on everything all over the internet and read books about parenting. I watched DVD’s and took notes and made post-it-notes that were on the wall. As a first-time father, I wanted to be as informed as I could and did a damn good job…I think. I never wanted to be one of those dads who had no clue why something was happening and no idea what to do. I also didn’t much care how things were done in the “olden days”. Call me progressive but I wanted to hear advice from modern dads and get advice from dads who were around my age; not grandparents.
But do you know what I found?
I found that around 90% of the articles and blogs I read were written by women and moms, from the perspective of being a woman and being a mom and FOR moms. Not that there is anything wrong with those at all but I remember thinking, “where are the dad’s voices and opinions” on things like vaccinations, diets, and breastfeeding. The sad thing, is that men’s opinions on a vast amount of parenting subjects are largely ignored and even unwelcome by our female friends, girlfriends, sisters, mothers and wives because it’s coming from a guy and viewed under the assumption that, “a guy doesn’t know what they are talking about.” Which usually is so far from the truth and so full of sanctimonious bullshit that it disgusts me. I’m sorry but having a uterus doesn’t automatically make you any more aware of things than those who have a penis when it comes to kids and children.
Women can be quite fond of complaining about the role or lack thereof that men play in their children’s lives. How often, though, are women really willing to take into consideration the opinions of men and fathers on important or even minuscule parenting issues. So, dads either new or old when educating themselves on something are stuck hearing from the “women’s perspective” on parenting issues like it is a book written by Sylvia Plath or Scarlet Paolicchi and can only be understood by those who can give birth. Even looking at parenting bloggers and readers there is a stark difference. 8Bitdads who are the second most popular dad bloggers on the internet only have 4,784 followers on Twitter. By comparison, Scarlet Paolicchi has nearly 100,000 followers and had the 3rd most popular “parenting” or “mom” blog in 2014.
Yes, there are guys who think that raising the kids and the kid’s issues are the sole realm of the women in their lives. Want to know a secret? These “dads” are becoming fewer and fewer and no self-respecting and attentive father would ever pay attention to anything these dads think or say about anything to do with kids. They can just go grunt in the corner while the rest of us regret the fact they even bred.
What do we do now?
But what got us here, what got us to this place where men’s opinions on parenting stuff became so undervalued and ignored. Well, we can largely thank the older generations for that one. The men of old that I talked about before and the women who just accepted it. While they were busy keeping up the racial discord in the USA they managed to further entrench ridiculous gender roles in parenting while trying to pass that garbage down the line. It’s made talking to other dads about parenting stuff a touchy subject because you are either asking a question to a very involved and knowledgeable dad or the one in the corner who just grunts, watches sports nonstop and drinks beer. Then that last guy gets pissed because you made him look like the s%^t dad that he is.
So now, dads like me who write about parenting issues are just building our way up in the blog world and trying to be a part of the connected world of parents that had been previously relegated to moms and only moms. The things we (dads) talk about in private with regards to our kids are slowly become more widely accessible; as they should be. Maybe someday our opinions on parenting issues and answers to questions about kid stuff will be valued by the fairer sex but it’s a slow road. It will be made an even slower road until the “moms” out there let us in on the conversation and show an actual interest in our thoughts and concerns. Just because we might be more logical and less emotional about things when it comes to our kids doesn’t mean we’re disinterested and unfeeling.
So ladies, next time you have a parenting question ask one of your dad friends about it and give them a chance before you go running to your squad. Stop perpetuating the typecast of fathers like you see on TV.