I cannot tell you how many times our family has gone out to a restaurant and been asked, "Giving the moms some time off for dads’ day out with the kids?" You would think that after the great number of strides we have accomplished with legalized gay marriage in 19 states and DC, it would be more common to assume two guys out with children are a family, just like any other. However, it is still confusing to many in our society.
This past May, when other dad bloggers were talking about ways in which they celebrate Mother's Day, I chose not to focus on the subject at all. It's honestly a confusing event altogether for me as a gay dad. Sure, we have our boys do special cards for each of their grandmas (we have five total that we recognize from both of our mothers and one step mother, as well as biological paternal/maternal grandmothers for both boys). Even school has been respectful (mostly) of the fact that we are a two-dad household and allowed the boys to customize the Mother's Day activities to be for Grandma. But, the reality is, year after year, this Hallmark-centric holiday just brings to light the fact that we are different and do not have a mommy in our house. And, to be frank, I don't like that.
As a Dad-and-Daddy household (or even just a single dad, gay or straight) in a Mommy-centric world, feeling irrelevant to the child-rearing process seems to be the norm. Perhaps this was the case in the 1950s, the age of Donna Reed and June Cleaver. As a child growing up in the 1980s, I remember commercials on TV in which "choosy Moms choose Jif" or Mom is the primary shopper for the household. Even Disney recently had a mother-focused ad around Mother’s Day to celebrate moms around the world. However, in 2014 we have a great number of dads playing the role of primary caregiver to their children.
As a dad, I can very easily relate to my two sons, especially my soon-to-be 9-year-old son, who is already taking extra long showers at night! (Can you imagine our water bill when he’s a teenager?) I only wish that more media, as well as society in general, would pickup on this cue of dads’ role in parenting and recognize equality for both male and female roles in the process of raising children.
When Peyton was a baby, I found it overly frustrating when I walked into a restroom only to find that there were no changing tables. Yes, I did use the ladies' room to change his dirty diaper from time to time. (After all, I am listed as his MOTHER on his birth certificate – thanks again for that one, North Carolina.) Regardless, in my mind, I shouldn't have to use the ladies' room as a dad when taking care of my child or children.
I'm thankful that we have a community such as Gays with Kids. Whether you are already a dad, currently expecting, or hope to be one someday, just know this: daddies can give hugs and kisses when our little ones get hurt; we can put on the Band-Aid and help distract from the pain; we can shop, cook, and clean; and we can do everything else that moms do. Perhaps, instead of having a separate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, in the future we should have just one day dedicated to recognizing parents and the role we all play in educating the next generation of society. Thoughts?