I’m going to let you into a little secret Jessica … to us dads who just get on with it and do whatever needs doing it’s completely ‘normal’ for us as well, it really is. I’ve done all the things you mention here and much, much more right from the day they were born … and have never considered it anything other than my duty as a dad. Hmm, that makes it sound as though I didn’t enjoy it, but I very much did — and still do.
However, it wasn’t later on that I really twigged that people — women with children especially — thought this was an incredible thing. Even now the kids are 11 and 12, I still get this ‘Oh you’re such an amazing dad’ comment (and, by the way, it’s almost always those exact words) wherever I go.
But does it make me an ‘amazing’ dad? I’ve never considered it that way and only time will really tell if either of us got this parenting thing right, but everything we do, me or her, we do as part of a team. And you know what? The dads who don’t do this miss out on a great deal — there is so much beauty in the mundane if you look for it, as mums well know.
Finally, I have to admit there’s a part of me that enjoys that praise, even though I don’t feel I’ve really done anything to earn it. And my other half will testify to the exact same syndrome you’ve covered here so well. Unfair to mum? Definitely, but it also says there’s not enough dads doing the mundane parenting activities that should be considered ‘normal’ — or we wouldn’t stand out in the first place!
Very nice article, enjoyed it, helped understand mum’s perspective very well.