My husband has been a father for less than two years and seems to be complimented for things I’m expected to do on a daily basis. And frankly, it’s an insult.
For example, last year, a woman on line at the airport expressed her awe when she found out my husband was changing our daughter’s diaper in the bathroom. Stating the obvious, my response was, “Well, he’s a parent too.” A week before that, when my hair stylist asked me who was taking care of our daughter while I was getting a haircut, I said my husband was. Her response? “Oh, wow; that’s so great.” Again, he’s a parent too. Most recently, my husband’s assistant told him what a great dad he was for going to our daughter’s pediatrician appointments. No one has ever complimented me for taking our daughter to the pediatrician, changing her diaper or taking care of her while my husband’s at the barbershop ... and I wouldn’t expect anyone to.
What does warrant praise? When my husband held our toddler for two hours while she napped on him during a cross-country flight so my five-months-pregnant ass could periodically get up to stretch my legs. When he slept on a glider holding our stomach bug–ridden toddler the entire night because I was worried she’d choke on her vomit if we laid her back in the crib (even though the pediatrician said she’d be fine), while I comfortably slept in our bed. Did I mention he has a bad back? These are the parenting actions any parent, regardless of gender, deserves equal praise for.