You know you want my opinion on it. Who does the better job at home, the man or the woman? Well get ready for the wintery fresh scent of disappointment, because not only is that the most loaded question since, "Do you think O.J. did it?" but I happen to believe that it's a total crap question. So what then, could possibly have sparked me to talk about this at all?
Here's the thing, I like to believe myself creative enough to not need "ideas" from somewhere else. I don't want to do a search on the top 10 blog topics and just give my own input on it. There's probably gonna be a time when I'll need to go all Mythbusters with this and take suggestions or answer questions, and for the record, always feel free to ask questions. I'll do my best to answer them truthfully and as quick as I can. Till I can get an email link permanently here, my facebook page dedicated to this blog (http://www.facebook.com/TheDadLifeBlog) has a message option. If I have enough to say on the matter, I'm sure it'll wind up here. However, till my mind becomes as equally blank as those of the girls on Teen Mom, I'd like to come up with my own stuff. Sometimes though, I can't help but be directly...inspired?...by a topic I see somewhere else.
Which brings me to a time right before Mother's Day. I read this blog from a Dad. I really, really don't want to post it. I don't want to give him any more traffic to the page than he has already received. I'm happy to give you the idea though. The guy decided that Letterman wasn't giving the world enough Top 10 lists, so he took it upon himself to list 10 things "Mothers do better than Fathers." Ugh. Oddly enough, the large number of Dads who read this on a blog about being a Dad, were slightly to medium slightly upset, and the wildfires were set. I can see why, but it's all very stupid. First off, I'm a big user of blanket statements. I say things all the time like, "Fruit is delicious." or "I'm awesome." though I don't believe either of those statements to be 100% true. I don't like pineapple enough to call it delicious and I had kidney stones before and that wasn't awesome at all (and yet people always laugh when I tell the story, my friends might be a little mean). However, if you're going to use a blanket statement about "Group A" is better than "Group B" it really needs to be the absolute truth. That's why all those "#1 Dad" mugs and shirts are a sham. Did you know you can just get those at the store? There's not like some sort of validation process for them. You can even buy them if you don't have kids! You can even buy them if you're a woman! Second, there's just no way the guy who wrote it could possibly believe what he said applies to all fathers. I mean, people are smarter than that, right*?
I'm not interested in getting all up in arms over his general statements about my ability to do things like - hugging, cooking, and changing diapers. All things from the list. I have a hunch that says this guy probably started out with very specific intentions. Basically, I'm guessing that his list was originally called "10 Things I Can Say To Up My Chance of Having My Wife Touch My Bing-Bong Tonight." Hopefully it worked, cause I imagine the outcry of negative comments from those who read it, must have kept him busy for a while afterwards. Seriously, making that kind of list privately for your wife as a way to say how much you appreciate everything she does (I mean, it was right before Mother's Day) is nice, romantic even. Posting it for the world with that kind of title implies that he believes his specific shortcomings are a world wide pandemic. I doubt he honestly thinks that all Dads are simply too stupid to put on a diaper correctly.
So are there any major factors that differ for men and women who stay at home with the kids? Parents of any kind at all? I looked into it, and well, there's breastfeeding. I think most men could agree that women hold the skills in that department. Outside of that, the feedback will always depend on the individual person. Someone once told me that as a guy, I'll probably deal better with being by myself for long periods of time. Yeah, you're thinking, "He's never alone, those two super cute boys are always around!" It's true, but anyone who has ever been a stay at home parent for a decent length of time can understand the thought. Stay at home parents deal with an amazing amount of isolation. It's lonely when your main outlet of conversation doesn't really talk back much. So, any truth to that idea? Who knows! The lovely thing about statistics is that if you want something that fully supports your point of view, it's there, and so are all the points against you. The reason? Everyone handles things in their own way. That's why no survey asking these types of questions has ever produced a 100% unanimous return. Want a survey that will pull up the same answer for ever person? Ask if they believe they are exactly the same as every other person on the planet. It's because people let their own experiences shape the way they do everything in life that you simply can't argue that gender plays any role in a person's abilities as a parent. It will always come down to the individual.
SO WHO IS IT? Who's better? Men or Women? In a time when I see women posting stories about how men will never understand how much a stay at home Mom does during the day, shouldn't I, a walking example of understanding, be able to stand up and say how outdated that kind of talk is, and how much it really does bother me? Of course! But it takes away from the bigger picture. We are all parents. That's gonna be my new favorite thing to say. While it's obvious that some people struggle with parenting far more than others, it has absolutely nothing to do with having or not having a vagina.
I like hockey. A sport that seems tremendously unpopular to TV audiences in the US, but in recent years one big change happened. A couple young superstar players started catching the eyes of the ladies. Yep, hockey (a sport filled with battered men wearing fake teeth) was sexy. In the middle of this new wave of popularity were two players, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. People had a great deal of opinions on both players, and the teams they played for, but the real story was THE RIVALRY! Oh boy, the media loved how these two kids were so popular and so talented, which made the obvious story how much they hated each other. Which....and get ready to have your minds blown...was completely made up! "What Ev?! You mean the media lied to us? That's absurd!" If the idea that a bunch of people who absolutely need viewers, would lie in order to get said viewers, is just too much for you...go walk it off, it's gonna be okay. Come on back when you're ready.
And that, is exactly what seems to be running around the blogging universe like pot at a Dave Matthews Band concert. Moms against Moms, Dads against Dads, Moms against Dads, Moms and Dads against Hipsters. (Dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria.) All of it driven by some "man behind the curtain" that wants so very much for the arguments to continue so the heavy traffic gets him that crazy internet money.
This idea that there needs to be tension or competition between men and women who are all just trying to raise their kids, is so dumb that I might cry myself to sleep on my tiny portion of the bed. A "war" between Mothers of any kind and Fathers of any kind makes about as much sense as a "war" between a one pound bag of sand and 10 sheets of paper (my money's on the sand). I really wish some people could get past all the made up crap and petty arguments. Stop buying into something that isn't there. If, as parents, you really need to go pick fights against someone, why not pick the government? We absolutely do less in this country for new/to-be Moms and Dads than any country who shares a similar economic status. Period. Why not pick those anonymous people behind these websites who thrive on and promote conflict?
So while we're all bickering behind our computer screens on places like facebook and parenting sites about why you simply must breastfeed your baby, why males just don't get how much work goes into maintaining a clean house, and the pros and cons of sleeping on the tummy/back/in bed with the parents/upright near a picture of Peter Frampton, let's try to remember: We are all parents. Every book I've ever read about parenting states that there is not one, singular, correct, way to do it. The fact that there's arguments at all should be enough to figure out that no one has it figured out.
Let's cut each other some slack here. Except for those self-righteous cloth diapering jerks**.
*So I went back because I found out he made a follow up, trying to address the overwhelming outcry of hate comments. I found that it did nothing to address the most basic problem which to me is, "Hey I really messed up the title of it." He admits that he's quite new to blogging and didn't mean to offend anyone.
**Good lord! Joke! Love you Kimmie!