Men are not incompetent. Women are not innately or universally better caregivers than men. So why do we assume this to be true?
Why, when my husband wrangles our three children — 4.5-years, 3-years, and 10-months — do people react with shock, but it is assumed that I can easily manage the troublesome trio? Do my ovaries offer me a child rearing superpower? Do his testes render him incapable of tending to his own offspring? No.
Hubs takes offense to the notion that he is assumed underqualified to effectively tend to his own offspring. That mindset is one of the reasons I adore him.
“I don’t do diapers.” some men say with a macho sense of superiority, as if their y-chromosome places them above the unsavory portions of caregiving. Apparently, the universe granted these stallions the option of making such a choice, but not women. “I can only handle one child at a time.” Some fathers will claim, even though they sired multiple children. It’s as if these sowers-of-oats don’t realize they’re demeaning themselves out of sheer laziness. Then, there are my favorite set, the myopic brutes who insist that they — the paycheck-earning men — need regular breaks from household humdrum yet their female counterparts neither deserve nor require such respite. To all of these fathers I say: think again.
You spawned the children, you parent the children. What you expect your mate to do in terms of childcare, you must also be willing to undertake.
If you “don’t do diapers”, you are expecting your counterpart to assume a duty you deem lesser, thereby implying she is lesser. Is that really a conversation you feel like having? Grab some baby wipes and clean the baby bum. You’re manly, you can take it.
If your significant other, with whom you share guardianship, is capable of wrangling all of your shared children, buddy, so can you. It may take some trial and error but you’ll learn, exactly as she did.
Everyone needs regular breaks — from work, routine, etc. — and a presence or absence of female anatomy does not negate this requirement. You, dear sir, need just the same (yes, the same) number of breaks as your co-parent. You are not a babysitter any more than she is. You cannot claim to be too overworked or underqualified to allow her a break unless you offer her the same veto power for your respites. This is a partnership.
Even if your significant other is a stay-at-home mom, your bread-winning status does not absolve you from parenting duties. Her lack of financial contribution to the household does not mean her duties are lesser or that you deserve downtime more than she does. You don’t work 24/7 without assistance or a break; neither should she.
Claiming ignorance or incompetence when it comes to caring for your own offspring doesn’t make you more masculine, more attractive, or more powerful. It simply debases you, degrades your partner, and — quite frankly — makes you appear lazy, selfish, misogynistic, antiquated, and inept.
Parenthood is a joint venture. Do your part. End of story.