There was recently a “Family Fair and Expo” here. The commercial for it drove me absolutely up the wall. It was a radio commercial, but, you could figure out the characters pretty easily.
Mom-“let’s go to the family fair and expo this weekend!”
Little boy-“is there anything for me?”
Mom-“yes! Face painting, and balloon animals, a bounce house, and games!”
Little boy-“yay! Is there anything for sissy?”
Mom-“there is a baby crawl race!”
Little boy-“what about dad?”
Mom-laughing “oh of course, there is a special area just for the dads where they can sit and watch sports, while we walk around.”
This commercial ticks me off. It was a FAMILY expo. Everything else the mom said was to do together, her and the two kids. But not dad, apparently dad 1. Doesn’t care 2. Doesn’t matter 3. Is too selfish to be involved or 4. Is too childish and needs his own area, much the same as the kids do at the mall with a little playground. Because apparently, what? Daddy is also going to throw a fit when he doesn’t get the clown to make a balloon rabbit?
I see this attitude ALL the time. All these women who laugh about how inept their husband is, how she can’t trust him to do what she wants. He says he’ll stay home with the baby while mom gets her nails done, and forever after that, mom sets out Little Susie’s clothes because that one time, dad dressed her in jeans with pink flowers and a purple onsie when any idiot can see the purple onsie goes with the paisley skirt. And, how can she leave him with the baby when he gave her squash for lunch when she clearly should have had green beans. Then this same woman will complain later because he never helps her with a anything.
When you act like someone is incapable or incompetent, why is anyone surprised when they live up to your expectations? We have all these fathers acting more like another child, and I firmly believe that is because that is how they get treated. NO, dad doesn’t need a special play area at the family activity. And he isn’t incompetent because he laid the newborn in a laundry basket with towel padding on the kitchen floor so he could fry up a burger. (yes, I did come home to this once.) Is it what I would do? Maybe not, but, because I did most the child care, he didn’t know where the playpen was or how to open it. Different doesn’t mean wrong.
Why should any man think he needs to man up and act like an adult, when he knows there is a woman close by to fix everything? Even things that don’t need fixing? Somedays, I know Aussie has no idea what to do with the Monsters, and he looks at me trying to figure out what to do. My standard reply has become “you have exactly as much experience raising an 8 yr old as I do.” I don’t know much, if anything more than he does. I want him to be an active participant, not another child who needs to be walked through this step-by-step. And you know what? He has managed. He has done great actually, and no infantilizing him was necessary. I don’t need to talk down to him for the kids to be raised right.
And you know, babies are pretty resilient. I can almost promise you that the baby will bounce back from being out in the wrong outfit, and fed something different for lunch.
I guess my point is, when we expect no participation,and constant screw ups from dad, why are we surprised when that is what we get? Dad may actually have some good ideas mom hasn’t thought of.