Dad Takes To Reddit To Ask If Other Fathers Get 'Uncomfortable Stares' When Out With Their Children

PSA: When a father is out with his children, expect it.

An image of a dad and his son at a playground.
Photo: Getty Images.

It's the 21st century. Dads going to Walgreens shouldn't be breaking news, and it certainly shouldn't be troubling. And yet, one Reddit dad has been getting dirty looks and outdated comments based on cliched gender roles when he's in public alone with his children.

He's understandably over it, and he took to Reddit to vent.

"I spend a lot of time out with my kids since I work from home, and they're still young (3 and 5)," u/TNF05070 started in the Parenting subreddit.

Nowadays, working from home is increasingly common. In fact, a FlexJobs survey of all kinds of parents earlier this year found that nearly two-thirds of parents would leave their job if they weren't allowed to work remotely in a post-vaccination society. Many respondents cited child care responsibilities and work-life balance as reasons for wanting to be allowed to remain remote.

This dad has been able to take advantage of the flexibility remote work affords him. It should be a positive thing, but it hasn't been.

"What would almost always happen is, I would get uncomfortable stares and looks that make me uncomfortable," he continued. "It's mostly from middle-aged Karens that give that 'What is this dude doing with these kids? Where is the mother?' type look."

You may think the dad is reading into it too much, but someone once had the gall to say the quiet part out loud in a Walgreens.

"I was standing in line, and my son was throwing a fit because he wanted something from the candy aisle," the dad continued. "I didn't want him to have it...and this Karen turned around and said, 'Where is the boy's mother? He needs his mother.'"

Dad has understandably had enough.

"I seriously cannot take it any longer," he wrote. "These are my children, and I owe NOBODY any explanation…this BS has to stop."

He ended with a message for the peanut gallery.

"If there are any Karens reading this, please cut the BS, and let us good dads out there do our jobs as parents in peace without being given death stares," the dad said.

Redditors agree—there's no need to treat families like they're doing it wrong if they don't resemble the Cleavers.

"I don't ever get the 'Where is their mother?' But people will often try to congratulate me on 'babysitting' my kids. It's extremely frustrating," one person said.

For the millionth time: Fathers are not babysitters when they're watching their own children. It's called parenting.

"It's frustrating, to say the least. I also made these babies, so, therefore, it's my job as a parent to care for them, and I don't want any recognition or any achievement award for it…To me, parenting is 50/50, and never make it a competition, just do as much as you can," wrote one dad.

Others pointed out how the comments not only hurt men trying to show up for their families but do nothing to diminish society's impossible expectations of working moms, either.

"This is extremely sexist and extremely common…My husband also sometimes reports being looked at like he abducted our daughter when he's out with her…When I'm at work, I often get asked, "Errr, who's watching your baby?' And when I'm like, 'Errr, her dad,' everyone is [surprised]. I'm always like, 'Geez, it's the 21st century, Karen,'" wrote another.

"My husband also gets these stares and comments. As a mother, I seriously don't know what's wrong with people. The father has the same rights as the mother. He can go shopping or to the park or whatever. It's called bonding with your child and having fun. I think you fathers deserve better than these…comments. You do as much or try to as mothers," said one supportive mom.

As a reminder, not all families include a mother. Some families have two dads. Others have one dad and no mom. Caregivers and their children should never be made to feel awkward for the family makeup as long as everyone is healthy, happy, and safe. So, don't assume every child has a mom or every man in the store is a woman's husband. And even if the man is part of a heterosexual marriage and parenting unit, they're perfectly capable of shopping with their children, picking them up from daycare, and taking them to doctor's appointments alone. Let's normalize normal parenting.

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