Dad Takes to Reddit to Share Frustrating Sexism He Faces as the Primary Caregiver
We often talk about the invisible mental load that mothers face. If you're not familiar, the mental load is the unpaid (and often unnoticed) labor that goes into parenting, like spotting when you're low on groceries and knowing your kids' extracurricular activity schedules by heart. Experts say this load can lead to burnout.
But while mothers tend to bear the brunt of the mental load of parenting, let's not forget that many dads out there are doing their fair share of rearing children, oftentimes more than their partner. That include one dad in particular who took to Reddit to find some emotional support.
"I'm a male, and my wife and I have two young kids," wrote u/compuzr. "I work part-time. She works full-time." (FYI: This isn't remotely unheard of. In 2013, Pew Research reported that 40 percent of mothers were the family breadwinner.) Naturally, Dad is usually the one who takes the kids to the doctor.
"[The doctor or nurse practitioner and I] talk for maybe two minutes," Dad continued. Then, they disappear, and I go on to get the prescription or whatever is needed."
Doctors' appointments can feel rushed for anyone. But here's the issue: His wife doesn't get the same cold shoulder from those same folks.
"[She and the providers] talk and talk and talk," he said. "A hundred questions are asked and answered. They discuss the kids' health and development in depth."
The same treatment happens at daycare for Dad. And he's also left out of the loop about playdates.
"[Our local moms] text each other all the time," he said. "My kids play with theirs all the time. But when there's a play date, you know how I know? They text my wife. At work. And then she texts me. They all know I do most of the childcare."
Needless to say, Dad is pretty upset.
"It's a quiet sexism, but it is persistent," he said. "I don't feel like being confrontational about it … but it is frustrating."
Other posters could relate. "A few years ago, my daughter had a doctor's appointment coming up. I phone the office … [and] get her appointment booked. Then the woman on the phone says, 'Alright, now please let your wife know that when she brings your daughter in, she has to ...' I am a single Dad [and] have been since the kid was born. Her mother's name wasn't even on the file," said one father.
"I'm a single dad. I am, of course, the emergency contact listed for my daughter, too. The school rings my sister instead," said another commenter to the post.
Families come in all shapes and sizes, and assuming that every household includes a mother or even two parents can be hugely hurtful to parents and kids alike, as one teen who lost her mother to cancer noted in a recent viral TikTok video.
And even if a family does include both a mom and a dad, this attitude hurts women, too, as one commenter pointed that out.
"I get you. I stayed with my baby in [the] hospital for four days, but I'm the full-time worker, [and] my husband is the stay-at-home dad, so all follow-up appointments would be with him. It was an apparently unbelievable prospect. Every time I asked what my husband had to do, where he should go, etc., they would revert to the 'then you do this and that,'" a Redditor said.
This commenter is correct. And how we talk about dads in relation to their parenting responsibilities can help lighten the load on women, too. That's because, when we think of fathers as equal parents and stop calling Mom for everything, it empowers them and puts less pressure on female caregivers.
The bottom line: Both parents play a pivotal role in their child's upbringing. Let's not minimize one parent's contribution more than the other based on gender alone.
I think it’s definitely something that is systemically wrong and needs to change. 1 thing that might help to know re:play dates. As a sole parent for over a decade (F long term single). I stopped messaging the dads and communicate only with the wives/mothers or other solely single males if they have sole responsibility as some of the wives and less enlightened members of the group chose to perceive even the most innocent of contact as having ‘designs’ on the men. Maybe going via your wife is a misguided way of trying to avoid that?Read More
Left scratching my head. Helped raised 3 from 1981 to 2016 and was freelancer so was out with children continually during day time on weekdays, nursery school drop offs and 75% of doctor appointments just to start. I never had a problem. And this was the early 80s. Our family doctor, for example, gave my questions plenty of time. I expected nothing less. I think the larger factor is one's personality. I just got on with it.Read More