I have married a mutant, like one of the X-Men. At least, that is what it appears to be, judging by the gasps, when he is seen publicly attending to a parenting chore. He has figured out basic skills of parenting – he can bathe T, feed her, play with her or put her to sleep. Let us stand up and give him an ovation! I have been congratulated that I have found a man that ‘babysits’ so well – even if the child is, well, his own. (Psst, it is called parenting.)
My husband is a wonderful man and I am proud of him. He is loving, supportive and honest. But, let’s get real, OK. He is SUPPOSED to take care of his child, at least as much as I am supposed to. So, let’s say when he is busy with a conference or is chilling with his friends in a pub, it is my duty to take care of T. Likewise! Simple, isn’t it? Nope, let’s complicate it with gender priorities and archaic bullshit until it seems like good, attentive fathers are to be revered, just for existing! How is it that (more) men are not disgusted by this automatic assumption of their incompetence as a parent?
I belong to an educated and evolved circle. Therefore, it is all the more surprising, that well into the 21st century, I hear amazement and even a hint of sneer, when my husband proudly proclaims that he is an equal parent. Truth is that we have still not managed to wrap our heads around the idea of an equal parent. Men are supposed to take their kids on long drives, teach them fishing and play football with them. If they can manage to put a dress on their son (think of a new Vodafone ad), they are SuperDads!
We need more role models – men who proudly come forward as equal parents. Men who are proud to change diapers, not sleep nights, sit down at tea parties with dolls, put on makeup because kiddo wants. And that is why I think it is cool that Zuckerberg posted a snap while changing nappy or that many countries are now considering shifting from the concept of Maternity leaves to Parental leaves. I hope the culture of equal parenting pervades for the sake of equal careers and equal lives.