I was watching Blackish, one of the latest comedies on ABC on TV one night when an episode called "Crazy Mom" aired.
To sum it up, the matriarch Rainbow tells her husband Dre he wouldn't be able to handle everything she does for a week because he doesn't even notice how much she does.
When Dre (Anthony Anderson) agrees to take over Rainbow's (Tracee Ellis Ross) "mom" duties for a week, he receives overwhelming praise from everyone at his kids' school for showing up with cupcakes for his co-workers.
Praise Rainbow doesn't receive.
I thought it was hysterical because I was already thinking the same thing. I have come to believe that by some in society men get more appreciation for being a parent than a woman does.
In a second scene after delivering the cupcakes, Dre strolls into work late beaming with pride. He proclaims, "I am late because I was helping my kid at school."
His co-workers praise him and tell him what a great dad he is.
A female co-worker of Dre's arrives with her clothes wrinked and hair a mess saying, "I'm so sorry, my kid was sick and I had to find another sitter. So sorry I was late."
They look at her with disapproval and the boss tells her to get it together and that it can't happen again.
I get that this is obviously meant to be a comedy but I couldn't help but notice the similarities to real life.
I worked in an office years ago when a man brought his child into work because the child had a day off from school. Everyone thought it was so cute.
A couple of weeks later, a woman brought her child into work for a couple of hours and I couldn't believe that some of the same people were making passive aggressive comments behind her back, mostly, "couldn't she find a babysitter?"
The subliminal message I even realized was in my own head when I was watching Playing For Keeps starring Gerald Butler on Netflix one day. I said to myself, he is a hot single dad taking care of his kid. "So sweet".
Then I realized what I thought.
Why did I call him the hot single dad while there was literally a soccer team of single AND married women in the movie taking care of their responsibilities and I only noticed him?
I wasn't the only one... the movie is basically about the a group of hot mothers in town chasing after the single dad like he's the last man on earth -- while he is trying to win back his ex-wife.
Why is it that I noticed his work as a parent but not his wife's?
The answer I think is society. Some of us were raised -- even in this modern society -- that the bulk of care-giving falls on the female.
If you think of a stay at home parent which gender do you think of? Quick!
A woman is EXPECTED to be the stay-at-home parent or if she decides to work and have children, she is expected to go to work and also take care of her baby.
And honestly, I don't believe the man is.
Even before I gave birth, my mother (who I would say is actually quite progressive) told me, "This child is yours. The caregiving will fall on you. Even if your partner is there day in and day out people will look to you first."
I believe there are alot of old-fashioned messages in our society that we haven't rid ourselves of yet, they are so subconscious we don't even notice.
Let's take a man that decides to stay home and raise the kid while his wife works. It's still looked at as against the norm. And a man that cooks? HOT. But it's only hot because some of us still don't think its a given!
Ask your girlfriends if you don't believe me. Ask them what they think of a single dad.
We can even take a look at the shows dedicated to men raising their children. It's a "specialty" category. Shows like Full House and Blossom were popular when I was younger because the story line was the father trying to raise his children.
I'm not saying that a man raising his kids shouldn't be appreciated. But he is doing what he is supposed to do just the way mom is.
He is involved in his children's lives and that's a beautiful thing.
But in this new modern society, don't clap for dad because he bought cupcakes... and not clap for mom.