Thanks to K for today’s guest post, it’s wonderful to have such a supportive partner in life. We all do our best, to assume otherwise can be infuriating. Without further ado, her reaction to the implication that I wouldn’t help when #2 arrives:
Hi everyone, this is K, Kevin’s other half and mother to the wee baby T. I needed to share something that happened to us that seems so ubiquitous, but is so troubling, I just had to share with you.
While at the Toronto Home Show last weekend, I was stopped by a saleswoman who notice my growing baby bump and Kevin pushing Theodore in the stroller and remarked, “Wow, you’re going to be a busy mamma.” “Yes I am.” I said slowing down slightly. She then turned her attention to Kevin and said, “Now you make sure to help!”
This systemic idea of dads as useless, tragi-comic characters in their own lives is problematic. We see this trope everywhere, from the “Homer Simpson” negligent father to the bumbling idiot often portrayed in commercials who can’t figure out how to scrub a dish clean. This is cultural narrative we tell ourselves is bordering on dangerous.
First of all, parents, remember it’s possible to be multifaceted:
- Watch sports + be a hands-on parent
- Be a feminist + raise a strong son
- Make bad puns + have a great sense of fashion
You do not have to be one thing. You don’t have to be the bumbling idiot, and at the same time, you don’t need to have every answer.
The double standard implied when the saleswoman at the Home Show suggested that Kevin “help me” with the kids was two-fold. The first addressed above, but the second is she unwittingly placed all the responsibility of raising children, being a wife, and essentially holding a family together, solely on my shoulders. That kind of pressure is crushing.
I am not Atlas, holding the world of my children, husband, family, friends, pets and future on my shoulders; and neither are you. Whatever your family situation is, however you have divided up your responsibilities, don’t ever let someone try to imply that as a father, you are anything less than equal, or as a mother, you are responsible for holding up the world.
So to answer the titular question, how to react when someone condescends to your husband, tell them to think before they speak.
Good luck out there.