Dads Get A Pat On The Back For Doing ‘Women’s Work’
It took my husband and I while to sort out the co-parenting balance, but now that we have two kids under two and both work at home full-time, it is 50/50 all the way, baby.
I feel really fortunate that I accidentally married a progressive man without even giving much thought to it. You see, we were both raised in Christian homes in the 80s. Both of our families were very religious with three kids and a stay-at-home mom. (If you’re wondering, no, we are not related… we just had very similar upbringings.)
In the back of my mind, I always thought I would probably be some kind of stay-at-home mom when I had kids. When I had my first son, I tried to balance my freelance writing clients with full-time mothering, until I eventually had to run up the white flag and ask my husband for more help.
I don’t fault him for any of this because we were still figuring out how we wanted to balance our household. But he has always said to me, “We are a team.” Now we split every part of childrearing right down the middle. If I took a sick kid to the pediatrician last week, it’s his turn this week.
My husband was on the phone with an insurance company last week registering for our new family insurance plan. (Thanks, Obama!) He ended up connecting with an older lady who was reluctant to ask him questions about our family’s medical records since he was “the dad.” I totally get where this lady is coming from—she was from an older generation. According to my husband, she was also very sweet and told him roughly one dozen stories about her grandchildren.
My husband assured her that he was fully capable of telling her our family’s medical history. He answered all of her questions, gave her the kids’ Social Security numbers, the whole nine yards. At the end of the conversation, the elderly insurance rep gushed to my husband about how impressed she was that “the dad” knew so much about the kids.
I don’t fault the sweet, old lady in this story—I just find it interesting. Based on her perception from her generation, she was blown away that my husband knew information about our kids’ health and even the name of their pediatrician. In my perception of this new generation, it looks like the tides are turning. To me, this balance is the norm. It is the same way that all of our friends with kids behave.
Dads today are very involved, and they know just as much about the kids as moms do. “Woman’s work” would be better labeled “parent’s work” since we’re all in the thick of it together.