On one hand, dads hear everyone telling us how important involved fatherhood is. And I agree completely. Studies have proven children with involved dads have enhanced cognitive abilities, stay in school, have increased self-confidence, wait longer to have sex for the first time and are less likely to be depressed. Furthermore, American men are becoming stay-at-home fathers in record numbers. And even if they’re not staying at home, men are paying more attention to work-life balance and heeding the call of women everywhere to step it up at home by taking on more of the household and childcare duties.
All that is well and good and encouraged. But here’s the rub.
The same people — mostly moms — who claim to be overworked and desperate for dads to do more are all too often the first ones to criticize them for not doing things right when they do step up. And by right, I mean their way. I’ve seen dads criticized and made fun of for how they dress the baby. For how they feed the baby. For how they handle things differently than moms. Despite the fact that most first-time moms are just as clueless and confused as first-time dads, it’s chic to make fun of the dads, while moms are assumed to know absolutely everything. As if the parenting instruction manual is imprinted in the female DNA. The fact that mothers face an unfair societal expectation to be a perfect parent from the get-go is a separate, albeit deserving, issue. But it’s no reason to crap all over the very same people you just asked to help more.