October 13, 2019

Ask Mom? What About Dad?

“My husband and I are proud fathers of a 5-year-old girl and 1-year-old boy. I was grocery shopping with them last week when I saw a sign that made me cringe.

Attached to a basket of free fruit, the sign reminded kids to “Ask Mom” before taking a snack. Fathers were relegated to a cheeky footnote listing mom stand-ins — alongside grandparents, babysitters and mannies — who could OK a snack. Though I had walked past this sign many times before, on this day I finally spoke to the store manager about it.

The sign diminished all fathers who are caregivers, not just gay fathers like me. It reinforced the archaic notion that men and women have different parenting roles, and child care is best left to mothers. I wish I could say such messages are unusual in this day and age, but they’re not. This cultural dynamic is bad for men, bad for women and bad for children.”

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