One of the biggest pet peeves of dads (and moms) is the assumption that he's somehow just a filler or a stand-in - rather than an equal player - when it comes to parenting.
This stereotypical sentiment is perfectly summed up by this image of a T-shirt posted on Reddit: “Dads don’t babysit. (It’s called ‘parenting’)”
It's no surprise that the reaction to the T-shirt has been overwhelmingly relatable.
Once upon a time, men went out to work and left the lion's share of child rearing to moms. In the majority of North American households, those roles died along with the dinosaurs. Today's fathers more than pull their weight when it comes to raising children. They are not simply there to help "relieve" mom.
According to Stats Canada data from 2015, more than one in 10 stay-at-home parents were dads. Goes to show, our family dynamics have progressed, yet in the main, our thinking about child rearing and gender roles has not. Such thinking is not only passe, it does a disservice to mothers as much as it does to fathers.
From an early age, I made sure my son spent each Saturday alone with his dad. No, I wasn't some neglectful mother. I knew how important it was for both of them to have dad in charge.
After all, parenting is a shared domain. Moms and dads find their own groove. And no doubt as parents we do some things differently. However, I resent the assumption that my husband is somehow less competent, less able than I am just by virtue of his gender.
We resent dads who don't step up to the plate, yet so many moms are such control freaks when it comes to looking after children that we struggle to stand back and just let fathers be... fathers.
Dads are not babysitters. It's high time we give dads the space and the freedom to be dads without treating their role like a cameo performance.
They are not hapless buffoons or babies in their own right. The moment we start treating them like involved fathers, then involved fathers they will become.
As it turns out, I will be out of town again this weekend. Yes, my son and my husband will be just fine without me. Please, don't worry about him and don't judge me.
Don't ask how he will cope because I already know the answer. He will cope like the boss he is.