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Is it right to praise dads for being dads...

Why are we still stereotyping dads (and mums), it's 2023 and I've had a few experiences recently that I thought I'd share with you...

Apparently I'm a hero YET my wife has her hands full!

As you know, we have three small children, a 3 year old, a 1.5 year old and a 3 month old. To be fair this happened quite a lot when we just had two, but it happens pretty much every time we go out now.

If you have small children, I'm sure you will have experienced these comments too!

So, whenever Kelly is out with the children on her own she regularly gets comments from strangers like "you've got your hands full," or "oh you must be busy". It absolutely infuriates her, but she politely smiles and nods back.

Meanwhile, if I'm out with the children, I often receive comments like "Wow, Fairplay mate" or "It's so nice to see children out with their dad, you're such a hero".

It almost implies that as men we're not great at looking after the kids alone (and certainly not expected to be,) So if we're seen alone with them, we should be applauded and praised.

I took the children into Halfords a few weeks ago, and the guy at the counter asked me if the missus had asked me to take the kids out to give her a break...

Baby change in the Women's toilet only!

This one really annoys me because what are men meant to do when out and about with the children and one of them needs changing!

I've been to so many coffee shops/restaurants/pubs where the baby change is in the women's toilet. So when we are all out together, this has meant that Kelly has to do the nappy change by default. When I've been on my own, I had only 2 options - change the baby on gents toilet floor (this is clearly not hygienic and should not be expected!) or to literally put the toilet out of action for women because I've needed to access it.

This usually means that a member of staff has to stand outside for me guarding the door to stop women coming in whilst I'm in there. Now I'm sure women would prefer not to have men going into their toilets to change a baby, so can these places please get with the times and equally install baby changers in the mens toilets too?!

I sympathise with those establishments who don't have the room to have a stand alone baby change, it's completely understandable. HOWEVER why have it in the women toilet?

Again it implies that men don't or shouldn't go out alone with the children.

I've been to a few places where they have a mobile baby change on wheels which can be taken to either toilet and that's a great solution. More places should do this.

One other bug bare with this one is putting the baby change in the disabled toilet!

I understand the idea behind this one... It's mutual territory and isn't designated to a particular sex, HOWEVER... It puts the toilet out of action for a disabled person who might need the toilet, which also doesn't sit right.

Assuming that a woman/mother must always be the primary caregiver.

I may have mentioned this incident before, but I know others have had a very similar experience recently, so it is clearly still a problem!

Now, with my wife being in the military, she gets her medical care from a military medical centre, so every time we move location, I have to register myself and the children at the local doctors.

Kelly doesn't tend to come along to this, as she doesn't need to, but it completely shocked me when we moved up to Scotland and I took the registration forms into our local GP surgery to register, and the nurse (quite rudely) asked me "does she not have a mother?!". I mean, how shocking and insensitive is that, why should I be expected to explain myself in this situation? Why can't a father take the children to be registered at the doctors? What if they didn't have a mother, what answer is she expecting here?

People still assume that dads play one role and mums play another, and that they have the right to comment if we don't fit that stereotypical mould.

Isn't it time we stopped putting mothers down for her decision to have children, and start appreciating that many fathers have a more equal share of the parenting these days.

We do not need praise for these basic things such as being out of the house with our own children. We're all parents and that's the only umbrella we need to sit under.

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