Approximately 999,996 of those times were uttered even before I was pregnant, as my husband dutifully played Polly Pocket with my little cousins on the floor at family get-togethers. And it’s true; Mr. Candy is perfect father material and, clearly, a mighty good sport with a curious affinity for the Dance ‘n Groove Hula-licious Kerstie Doll. But I almost dreaded going to those family functions because I knew as soon as my Ideal Baby Daddy and I left, my aunts and grandma would sadly shake their heads and cluck, “Poor Mr. Candy. If only that cold, baby-hating, career-obsessed Candy would give that boy KIDS already!”
No! I kid! They never said “cold.” As far as I’m aware.
Little did they know that the moment Mr. Candy’s butt hit the car seat, he would exclaim, “Thank GAWD we don’t have kids yet,” then proceed to pass out in the passenger seat, presumably having nightmares of being held hostage by Hula-licious Kerstie, while plotting his escape on the Groovy-Glam Pony Polly Doll.
But what really irks me is that the bar is set so low for “good fathers.” This observation is in no way a reflection of Mr. Candy’s abilities — that man is so damn adorable, he called me the other day simply because he saw a little girl in a headband eating lunch with her mom and the very sight gave him daddy pangs (freakin’ cute, right?) — but rather a general observation. All a man has to do is willingly hold the kid and not appear, you know, disgusted by the thought of spending time with the little one, and he is hailed as the World’s Greatest Father. In fact, female onlookers will “ooohhh” and “aaahhh,” and fawn all over this apparently desirable piece of Daddy Candy.
Moms, on the other hand — we can’t win.
I drink a soda while pregnant, and a stranger reprimands me as though I’m using it to wash down heroin brownies. I consider using a Mommy’s Helper so I can still work from home and people recoil, “Really? You’re going to let a perfect stranger watch your baby?” We’re judged for every little thing: how we handle pregnancy; how we give birth to the baby; how we carry the baby; what the baby eats; what the baby wears; where the baby sleeps; how much the baby cries; how many shots of Patrón we choose to put in the baby’s oatmeal.
“She is SUCH a good mother”: a sentence we hear way too rarely.
Meanwhile, Baby Daddy throws a onesie in the hamper and he gets a fucking medal.
A suggestion for all of us baby mamas under the microscope: the next time a Nosy Nancy dares to judge our well-meaning choices, let’s just tell her to stick a Polly Pocket where the sun don’t shine, shall we?