Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dealing With Another Dad Double Standard

I was talking to someone the other day who I hadn't seen in awhile. He asked if I was "still doing the Mr. Mom thing." I understand that I can't expect him (or his older generation for that matter) to understand how difficult it was for me not to shout "DON'T CALL ME MR. MOM!" But just as I pat myself on the back for withholding my disdain for that particular statement, he said something else, "So, you're really using that college degree, huh?"

I hadn't given his statement that much thought at the time. I just continued the conversation, and we went our separate ways. My wife later said to me, "I can't believe he said that." I thought she was talking about "Mr. Mom" because she knows how much I hate the phrase. "No," she said, "About you going to college." She was right. I didn't even stop to think about how much of a double standard that really is. I was so upset about his repeated use of the "Mr. Mom" phrase that I totally missed what might be an even bigger put down.

Our country spends millions of dollars a year to market science and mathematics to young girls so that they stay interested and pursue careers which require advanced degrees. If a woman gets a college degree, she is praised for her ambition. If she later decides to stay at home with her children, nobody questions her choice to get a degree. It makes her better educated person, which, presumably, adds to what she has to offer as a mother. Her choice to get a college degree is viewed as a good choice, even if she later decides to stay at home. So why, then is my choice to get a college degree all of a sudden a bad choice because I decided to stay at home?

I think that this is where negative stereotype of "idiot dad" comes into play. Our culture does not expect very much of fathers; therefore, when one spends money on an education just to stay at home, it is seen as a waste. We are not supposed to have anything to offer our children anyway.

I am happy that this just isn't true. I believe that any education is valuable, and we should aim to pass along that knowledge to our children. All degrees earned by mothers AND fathers are valuable to the future success of that family, whether it increases their potential income levels, their ability to help with homework, or even their ability to teach their children how to be better students.

What other double standards are out there? I know that there are a lot toward moms, but what about others that are directed at fathers? Why do you think this double standard exists?


  1. Amen, my brother!

  2. What amazes me (and I have to say this in a whisper) is that along with all the stay-at-home stuff I do - the cooking, cleaning, laundering, shopping, etc. - I still do all the traditional "guy stuff" - the mowing, the gutters, the trash, all the repairs around here, the car maintenance. What's up with that?

  3. My household doesn't really divide chores into "guy" chores and "girl" chores. They all just need to get done. I won't let my wife do something that I am not willing to do, and she always offers to do the "guy" jobs like mowing the lawn, etc. We just do whatever chores are necessary, and there is no argument about whether or not it's a job for me or a job for her. This is "our" house, so they are "our" jobs. Having a family with an at-home parent (of either gender) only works if it operates as a true partnership where either spouse is willing to jump in wherever they are needed and tackle the tough jobs. If you feel that there is an imbalance in your home, I suggest that you discuss it with your spouse and see if she feels the same way.

  4. I agree...and wish I could be in your shoes where I'm a stay at home dad. Put that comp sci degree to work!

  5. Comp sci degree?! You can make it happen easier than any of us! DO IT! As long as your wife is on board.



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