Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I promise they'll be okay

I want to take the lighter side of being a single parent but, discrimination of parents kills me. It does work both ways, it's different but, effects both sides. I'll try to explain and try to look at it from both directions. BTW... This works for married parents too and is not a single issue.

There's a discrimination that happens to all of us dads. Sometimes it works in our favor and sometimes not. I'm sure a good deal of it comes my way from my own insecurities but, after talking to a few ladies, I'm leaning closer to it being true. Any given day, go to a playground and look at the people with their kids. Moms and Dads; playing, taking a minute or two to chat with friends, what ever it takes to stay level on any given day. Watch how people talk to each and then, go to a restaurant, do the same and listen.

On the playground, you have the dynamic of parents playing with their kids. Everything is great or, is it? Everyone has their own reasons for going to the playground, mostly to keep the wee ones happy and wear them down. My perception is this. When people see Dads playing with their kids, we get accolades and praise for being such loving parents. On the other hand, Mothers get beaten up on playgrounds because, the thought is that they should be home; teaching, cleaning or, god forbid cooking. I thought this was only an issue when getting pulled aside by Babyboomers but, like any discrimination, it runs deep. Even mothers my own age say the same crappy things about dads playing with their kids and mothers letting everything go to hell. "That might be extreme."

Flip the situation:

Now we're in a restaurant, same deal only one parent taking their kids out to eat. Mother by her self in the corner booth, kids are little rowdy but, some what controlled. A father is in another booth down the way, in the same situation. I want to say it's the same in both places but, it's not.  In fact, most servers will check on the mother twice as often, and then sympathize if the kids get a little out of control. Dads get ignored a little bit and told that now they know what it's like for single mothers. They'll get dirty looks from other patrons, when a mother will get sympathy. Same situation. It's cultural and it's fine.Whether the people are nice, mean or, just can't figure out why. Any parent might need a drink, not want to make dinner and flat out just say fuck it. Playground, Restaurant, Store it doesn't matter, parenting is a honed craft and isn't always pretty.

I'll give it to the ladies, you have an emotional attachment that can't be matched. Bed time is where I always wish a woman was there to help calm the kids but, in the morning, forget it, we shine. All the other things; Homework, Cleaning, Cooking, wiping butts, kissing boo boos, all these things can go either way. Who's more disciplined or, attached. I don't know but, I think it's pretty equal in many ways. I can only ask for people to break the thought that it's harder one way or the other because, it's not. I promise any parent who has the best intentions for their children and loves them without fault, will do okay. Hopefully, they won't ruin your dinner in the process.