This weekend began the festival season for Gina, so while she got home late at night, she was gone just as early the following day. It was a good trial run for Lorelei, this being her first festival season stuck at home with me and the big three. Nothing of consequence happened in Gina's absence, so I don't have any great stories to tell. This is more of an OpEd piece today.
On Saturday we attended a birthday party for some friends and as I walked in the door I heard the familiar "father of the year right there" comment. Now, they're newer friends of ours, so this is really the first time they've seen me go solo for a weekend with the four tote heads in tow; but I think that makes it even more disheartening. Every time Gina's gone and I'm alone with the kids, someone thinks that's amazing, or odd. ... or just wrong. I mean, how can a father possibly take care of four children under 7 for a whole weekend? That's just cray-cray! You'd have to be a parent or something to survive that!!!
Why is the expectation so low for dads? Why is it that something my wife does every single day blows the minds of others when I do it for single weekend? Add in that my wife has to juggle school and shopping and gymnastics and soccer and play dates and PTA meetings, doctors visits and yoga classes and dentist trips. I slept in (relative to my normal 4:30 wake up), turned on a tv, scrambled some eggs and left for a 12:30 party with 4 very mismatch dressed kids in pretty crappily done pony tails. I didn't even wrap the present - Gina did that earlier in the week. Father of the year?!! That's just sad that these efforts would even qualify me for a nomination!
But it's this dual expectation that we set in parenting. We're amazed if a father shows up to the recital (oh what a doting dad with his camera); and then we're expecting that the mother to show up to rehearsals, make the stupid outfit, practice with the kid at home and still find time to change out of her yoga pants for the performance. How is that fair? How is that balanced parenting?
Obviously with the stay at home mom angle there is a little more expectation. I work all week so my wife can have more time to manage some of the day to day efforts that keep our family running. But when I'm not working, does that suddenly mean expectations for her cease too? I'm a dad. I should not be congratulated and praised for doing my job. But that's how it seems to be looked at by the masses. I've said it before, but I think we need higher expectations. Partners are partners. I don't think dads should be considered minority shareholders anymore.