Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Out With Daddy

There's an assumption that so many people make when your the father out with the kids. The store clerk stocking shelves tries to be friendly and says some comment like "Are the kids with daddy today?" or "are you babysitting today?" I try not to be offended since obviously the clerk has no clue how we are living our lives and running our family.

My response the last time this happened was:
"Nope, I'm the daddy everyday." 

For some reason people assume that just because you're the dad that you are not a primary caregiver of the kids. They assume automatically that the role of the main parent is that of the mother and the dad just is a supporting role if there at all. Being out with daddy is just as normal as being out with mommy - at least it should be.

The opposite isn't true either. I may be the one who stays at home with the kids, feeds them, gets them dressed for school, gets them ready for swimming lessons, cooks dinner, get them ready for bed, etc. but I don't do it alone. My wife is right there with me. It's a team effort.

I suppose the view in the eyes of the store clerks is due to a presumption of a "normal" idea of the family. One mom, one dad, and two kids. The dad works, the mom raises the kids, and the kids are the kids. (Shocker there huh?) But really is there ever any such thing as "normal?" Back when the family was born and raised on the farm, before this thing known as suburbia happened, everyone was raised together. Everyone helped out around the house - family members had to, just to get by. We're extremely privileged today to be able to have a "normal" life aren't we?

The fact is the family is a joint effort, parenthood is a joint effort, and neither parent is primary. Both are integral to the life of the child and to think otherwise just shouldn't be "normal."

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