The Dad Stereotype
I changed the first diaper on both our boys, when they were less than a day old. For Calfgrit8, I just happen to be the one holding him when nature called. So I laid him down and changed him. Cowgrit watched over the operation, as she had changed baby diapers before, but I performed the deed.
For Calfgrit4, when natured called for him the first time, I wasn’t holding him, but I accepted the duty. <insert pun here> By this time, I had a lot of experience, so I didn’t need supervision.
Since that very first diaper change, eight and a half years ago, I’ve taken care of one or both boys enough to be moderately offended by stereotypical comments about men not knowing how to take care of children. Not only have I taken care of my boys as part of a team with Cowgrit, after my work hours, on the weekends, and for the occasional some hours alone here and there, as I expect most modern dads do, but I regularly have the boys all to myself at least four times a month, from the time we wake up to the time I put them to bed.
Cowgrit works four days a month (usually every other weekend — she’s a nurse in the maternity ward at the local hospital). On her weekends to work, it’s just me and my boys all day. This has gone on for years.
I know how to cook for and feed the boys. I know how to do the laundry. I know (knew) how to change diapers. I can take the boys to the museum. I know how to pack for a weekend for the three of us in my hometown. I know how to handle pretty much everything that comes up in a regular day of being with kids.
So it annoys me when a woman who doesn’t know me suggests (or says right out) that I must not know how to properly cook for and feed my boys, clean up after playing all day, do laundry/dishes, etc. Surely I’m not the only man in the modern day who can take care of his children. Surely people don’t still think all dads are as shown in silly sitcoms on TV.
In this day and age, men have come to accept the fact that women can be competent in the work place, but for some reason, a lot of women can’t accept the idea that men can be competent in the home.
Now, just because I can be competent in the home — cooking and cleaning and such — doesn’t mean I like it. I like playing with my boys, but I endure cooking and cleaning because it has to be done. I don’t have to be good at the work, I just have to be competent. When I need to be. When Cowgrit ain’t there to grab the laundry just before I was about to.
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