As you can imagine, I receive tons of e-mails from publicists. (Although if you were to imagine anything, you’d probably prefer to imagine Ryan Gosling washing your dishes. Naked.) If you wonder what I do with my days, well, a good portion of them are spent scrolling through notes addressed to “Mommy Blogger” (and, yes, they actually use the quotes, as if questioning whether I’m really worthy of the already mildly condescending job title), pitching totally relevant stories about camping tents, shoe deodorizers and videos of clients playing the ukelele.
You know, the kind of stuff I write about every day. *Ahem*
Sometimes I’ll unearth a gem among the e-mails, which is why I take the time to read most of them. (Also because I used to work in public relations, so I enjoy dissecting their pitches. Yes, these are the kinds of glamorous activities that amuse me.) And other times, I’ll come across one that catches my attention — but not for the reasons the publicist intended. Such as one I got today touting a survey of moms she thought would be perfect for a “Father’s Day feature.” Curious, I opened the press release and scanned down to the sub-headline, “And Thank Heavens for Dads.” Here is what it revealed:
“Mom is not afraid to ask for assistance, especially from her spouse. The survey showed that while moms appreciate their one-on-one time with their babies, dads often lend a hand in lightening the load. Among those fathers who play an active role in their baby’s life, three in five assisted in diaper changing (60%), while nearly half took on meal (49%), bath (49%), and bed (47%) time duties.
I had to eyeball the results twice to make sure I was reading them properly — and not just because the baby nearly poked my eye out this morning. (The dangers of an intense game of Peek-a-Boo.) Are we really supposed to be jumping for joy that 40% of “active” dads don’t help change diapers? And that less than half of them ever help feed or clean them, or put their kids to sleep? Keep in mind that these are the dads playing an “active role,” so that number is even more dismal when you factor in the “inactive” ones. Which begs the question: how, exactly, are these dads active then? Actively saying, “No thanks, you do it”?
I know there are plenty of wonderful fathers, my husband and guy friends included, who are active and enthusiastic parental partners in every way. As they should be. Last I checked, this was 2012 — a time when fathers are involved in raising their children from pregnancy on out — not the Medieval Period, when men weren’t even allowed anywhere near childbirth situations (a devastating rule that forced disappointed daddies-to-be to watch the big jousting tournament on ESPN with their buddies while their wives spent 14 hours squeezing a watermelon-sized baby through a 10-centimeter hole), let alone help change the shredded bark covering the baby’s butt. But, it would appear from this survey of 500 moms, there aren’t enough wonderful fathers like my husband. Or else the results are skewed. Makes me wonder who they surveyed: the past and present cast members of Teen Mom? Or maybe Will Ferrell‘s wife and Mario Lopez‘s baby mama?
Regardless, the fact that these particular results made the PR firm crow, “Thank Heavens for Dads!” only further proves my gripe that there is a double standard when it comes to parenting expectations. Almost half of dads have helped feed their kids! Let’s give them a medal! Whereas with moms, it’s all: Did you SEE how she gave her child inorganic chicken nuggets? Tsk. Just awful.
Hmpf. My irritation is making my feet sweat. If only I knew where to get a good shoe deodorizer…
Laughing Storkers: Do your husbands and baby daddies play a (genuinely) active role in diaper changing/feeding/sleeping activities? Am I crazy for expecting that to be a given? Why do men have nipples? Is it possible to lose my contact lens inside my head forever? So many questions, so little time because of all these damn ukelele videos clogging my in-box…