The most important person in Carson’s life is undoubtably Katie, his momma. As his father, I know that to be completely the truth. My wife is amazing. She cares for our son in a loving and patient way that I can’t begin to even understand or duplicate.
That said, as a father, I’m regularly reminded that I’m the “secondary parent” to my son, even though I’m actually not. How so, you might be asking yourself. Well, thank you for asking that question, because that’s exactly where I was going with this.
Like any new parent, I’m completely clueless when it comes to raising a child. You know, in a way where they live and grow up to be an adult. Cue Google … my regular resource for “how high of a fever can my two year old have before I call the doctor” or “how do I stop my two year old from screaming at me.” Now, these are simply hypothetical examples and not something that I have actually looked up. Do you believe me? No? Ok.
What I have come to learn from the “go to” parenting sites are a few things.
First, every other paragraph will alter the child’s gender with “he’s” and “she’s” all over the place. Heaven forbid we just pick one and assume the reader can adjust to their child’s gender appropriately. And we don’t want to seem biased … unless we just always say “she” because it’s ok to be biased against boys. True story.
Second, every article is written to mom. Every. Single. One. Good luck finding one that even acts like a man could be reading the article. They will always reference “mom” making sure you know that the article was written assuming you are a woman reading it. Shafted.
So what, right? I can get over that. Let’s move on.
About a year ago my son unfortunately had to be admitted to the hospital. Sad side note, I’m writing this from his bedside at the hospital yet again. Sad trombone. Anyhow, my wife and I were getting ready to settle in for the night. She was going to go home and I was going to stay at the hospital overnight with Carson. We are standing side-by-side when the doctor on duty comes into the room to review the plan of care for the evening. SHE looks directly at my wife and explains what the plan is for the next 24 hours. I was standing right … freaking … there. Shafted.
She never once looked at me or acted like I needed to know anything she was saying, even though it was I who would be staying the night there. But this is an isolated incident, right? Wrong.
There have been multiple doctors who will regularly treat me as though I’m a casual observer in the room while my son is under their care. To counteract this, I’ve made it a point to speak up and often during doctor appointments so that the doctor is forced to speak to me. Sad that I have to do that, right? I think so.
The fact is, if Katie ever decides that she’s sick of my shenanigans and peaces out (the “d word”), I’m very likely to get the short end of the legal stick too. In 83% of child custody cases, the mother is awarded primary custody. That’s outrageous. I love my son every bit as much as my wife, so why is it that she is favored to get custody of him if we were to go splitsville? It just shouldn’t be that way. Shafted.
If you want to learn more about the pro-mom/anti-dad studies, start with this article here: https://nationalparentsorganization.org/blog/22457-studies-show-judicial-bias-against-dads
But wait, there’s more!
Let’s go shopping. Katie and I were at our friendly local Target store (I was looking to get my identity stolen or something) and while looking for some crazy pants or something for Katie, I perused the kids clothing section. My eye was drawn to some super hero shirt that I thought would be cute for Carson. But after looking around for a minute, I noticed something. In the girls clothing section, there were the shirts you would expect of different characters, but there were also “I love mommy” and “mom is my super hero.” Not just a one or two … there were seven or eight that caught my eye. Look to the left at the boys section and … nothing. Oh sure, Batman, Superman, Ironman, Aquaman … you name it. “I love daddy” or “daddy is my hero” shirts? Nada. Shafted.
Listen, I’m not trying to whine here. I get it … mom’s are rockstars and we men are screw ups. But what about when we aren’t screw ups? What about the men that go to work and provide for their family, come home and love on, instruct, discipline, bath and put their kids to bed. Then turn to their wives and show them love and appreciation. I’m not saying I do that perfectly, but dang it, I try really hard. Where’s my shirt (well … Carson’s shirt about me)? Again, I don’t want the shirt. I want society to notice, respect and acknowledge the good fathers out there busting their butts for their family.
And asking for this doesn’t take away one compliment aimed at the women that are rockstars. The single mothers who got shafted by a deadbeat dad. I know this happens. And those women who raise these children on their own deserve all the praise they get. And so do the mom’s like Katie who bust it every day to take care of our son while I’m at work. Her job is far harder than mine, and she does it with grace and beauty. She deserves the praise she and others like her receive. I’m not taking that away.
I’m simply asking of our society, why are fathers getting the shaft so often?
I offer zero answers to this question. I offer zero solutions to this problem. Why? Because we first need to simply acknowledge that it is a problem.
In a world of “female empowerment,” that “equality” isn’t always what some are pursuing. I truly want gender equality. And it’s time that people start to pay attention to the male inequality that exists in many areas of life, but specifically, parenting.