As a blogger, I’m always on the lookout for things to write about – particularly now I’m a freelancer too – so I’m subscribed to a number of emails about topics related to parenting and, in particular, the role of dads. It was no surprise then that the subject line of the latest email update from The Huff Post caught my eye. “You know you’re a dad when…” it said. I was disappointed when I clicked through, however, and found that the article didn’t portray dads in the way I hoped it would.
It’s funny in places and tries to be on dads’ side and there are parts of it that have a nucleus of truth but, on the whole, I found it to achieve the opposite. It’s patronising, paints us as feckless and two-dimensional and then damns us with faint praise at the end. I’ll give you a few examples:
“Instead of checking out the woman walking past, you are checking out her buggy and comparing it to yours.”
So, until we become fathers, we’re only capable of perving on women when we see them? Wow, I’m even more glad I became a dad then. Otherwise I would have put Kleenex out of business by now.
“You are afraid to say you are tired. At least in the presence of your wife. Because as soon as those words come out of your mouth may God help you. You might as well spend the next half an hour with ear plugs in to avoid listening to the definition of tired.”
This one doesn’t do either gender any favours – apparently we’re so weak of mind that we daren’t be honest with our partners who, it seems, are to be perceived as little more than tyrannical ratbags.
“You are very speed aware. You actually comply with the speed limit, at least when you have the kids in the car.”
Now I don’t drive, but I can guarantee you that, if I did, I would respect the speed limits that exist to prevent accidents. According to this article though, we’re irresponsible until we become dads and may still try to literally pull a fast one if we’re out on our own. Come on…
It turns out that the article wasn’t even written by a dad – it’s by a mum – so can only be based on assumptions of what goes through our minds. How can anyone other than a dad properly tell you how parenthood changes us? I wouldn’t dare write about how being a mum can change women in the way that this article has. It’s sexist and I’d rightly come in for immense criticism.
So why is it okay for the situation to be reversed? As I mentioned before, this article is attempting to be favourable but has failed to use the right tone and seems to have a fairly bleak view of men before they become dads. Sure, having children does change us for the better – as it does for any parent – but that doesn’t mean we start life as irresponsible, weak-minded perverts!
I’m disappointed to see it on such a well-read website. Particularly when it’s one of the few that has ‘parents’ rather than ‘mums’ in the name. Come on, people, we can do better than this!