This is going to sound utterly self-congratulatory, but it’s rather the complete opposite. Since our daughter was born a little over a month ago, I’ve received messages from a few people saying how happy they were to see that I’ve been a present father.
For example, our midwife said to me, “it’s always nice to see that the father is so involved,” when she saw that I was unafraid to change our daughter’s diaper and clothes during one of her earlier home visits.
Then, many DM-ed my wife when she posted on her Instagram a series of photos of confinement meals that I’d cooked to help her with her postpartum recovery, saying things like, “You have the best husband!”
So far, still sounding very much self-congratulatory, I know. Bear with me.
So anyway, when, after all these, one of my female friends complimented me, I lamented to her:
Women go through so much to grow and care for a child, it’s the right thing for a father to try and be an equal partner in other ways like cooking, cleaning the house, running errands, changing diapers, and so on. I think it’s sad that this is something that men get thanked for because so much of what mothers do are thankless and taken for granted!
That’s how I feel about the whole thing. Stop thanking me for what I ought to be doing as a father and husband! Please, divert your attention to the person who suffered 100x more and is yet doing everything thanklessly.
To this, she responded:
“It’s so heartwarming to read that! My husband was a superhero during my recovery of the birth but I know for a fact that not all dads act like this - I have many friends who couldn’t count on their partner the way Charlane and I are able to!”
(I’ve edited the wording slightly to preserve the anonymity of said friend.)
I think men have been cut too much slack for far too long when it comes to parenting. I believe that leniency has bred chauvinism across many cultures.
Here’s what I hold as truth: work is much easier than parenting.
Phrased another way: don’t use the fact that you’re working as an excuse to be an absent or unequal partner in raising your child.
If your wife didn’t have to be pregnant for 9 months, endure excruciating pain to deliver the child, and deal with her wrecked body during postpartum recovery, she would probably also be working. And I’ll bet that she would still manage to feed and play with her child, cook for you, clean the house, run errands, and do things to show you that she loves you.
So, my fellow men and people who identify as a “he,” wake up. Learn to be an equal partner. Earning money is not a good enough reason to let your partner feel like she is raising your child(ren) alone.
Be a man; do the right thing.