Most men are terrific, capable fathers. For the record, I could word that the same way, “Most women are terrific, capable mothers”. There are, of course, exceptions to both. It was after a recent episode of “Desperate Housewives” that I got to think how men are depicted in TV shows, advertisements and the like. In the aforementioned “Desperate Housewives” episode, Lynette has decided to go back to work while husband; Tom stays home with the kids. The first episode in which Tom has the kids the whole day, Lynette returns to a house with dishes everywhere, toys strewn about and an image of overall disarray; not to mention Tom looking haggard and exhausted. This first episode didn’t anger me because I believe it would be quite an adjustment to go from working full time to staying at home full time. It was at the end of the show when Tom has shown he continuously can’t handle the kids and the housekeeping like Lynette could that bothered me.
I’ve often been heard saying, “Zach is a better father than I am a mother.” Sure, I’d prefer him scrubbing out the stains on our carpet or vacuuming the couches after our dog decides to deposit large amounts of hair on them; but he is a fantastic father. He is not only warm and loving, he is attentive and caring, funny and playful. When Trysten was a baby, he would wake up with him just as much as I would to do the burping and the changing. He has been involved since day one and still loves having daddy and Trysten time when mommy is not invited. So seeing men in commercials not “handling” time alone with their own children or hearing men refer to “babysitting” their own children really gets me heated up. Maybe it’s because I have so many great examples of fathers in my own life: my dad, my husband, my father-in-law, and my brother-in-law that I get mad for them at the way they are represented. Imagine if the ad execs had the audacity to constantly portray mothers as incapable, can’t-wait-til-daddy-gets-home parents. There would be uproar in the feminist community, the likes to which have never been seen! So why aren’t those same women becoming outraged at such an atrocious portrayal of men?
I for once can’t answer that question. I have been a witness to men who do sincerely consider it “babysitting” when they are alone with their own child. I have known women who can’t go out without finding a babysitter because their husbands don’t want to be left alone with their children. But I’ve known more men who love and cherish and welcome time spent alone with their children, and it’s for these men that I am writing this.
For all intents and purposes, Zach is a better parent than I am. He is more patient, stricter, tickles better and will teach our son to pee standing up. Zach has pointed out that Trysten could care less about clean clothes as long as he gets more personal time with me on more than one occasion. It is for Zach, my faithful, loving husband that I write this. It is because of men like him that we women, we mothers, get such a good reputation. And for that, I thank you and I will yell at the TV next time a dad is portrayed as incompetent, even if I’m the only one yelling.