Father and Daughter

I’m sitting in the train station with the only Starbucks in this town. This has been a routine of mine for Saturday mornings when the kids are at religious class. I like to think it’s free babysitting service provided by the Catholic church for me.

“Awwwww. How cute!” I exclaimed to myself when I saw the father sitting at the table in front of me trying to put up a ponytail for his little girl. The grandmothers from the table next obviously thought the same as they commented on how adorable the scene was.


I immediately caught myself, wondering WHY, why is it deemed universally adorable whenever we see fathers (attempting to) take care of their OWN children, and whether I ever go “Awww” when I see a woman taking care of hers.

Sometimes, the more clumsy the attempt, the more adorable it appears. The man clearly is trying his best. He gets points for the effort. Do we ever give mothers credits for simply trying without passing judgment?

Article by Absence Alternatives

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{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Elly Lou April 14, 2012, 4:41 pm

    I swear I’m going to stab the next person that tells Rocco what a wonderful job he’s doing while I’m standing right next to him unshowered, unfed, and unslept.
    Elly Lou´s last blog post…500 Miles

    • Absence Alternatives April 14, 2012, 5:51 pm

      LOL. {{{{{hugs}}}}}

      I AWWWWWed today when I saw you and Paul in the video you posted. Cutest things ever you two! 🙂


    • dufmanno April 18, 2012, 11:45 am

      I’ve got to say that I’m always the parent with the lesser skill set. Everyone’s hair is all matted, barrettes are crooked and falling out, diaper clad offspring smell and have leakage, everyone is sporting food stains and we all smell.
      When my husband takes the helm I just slink off and scrape the questionable chunks off my shirt. This is summed up in a famous line delivered once by my mother when we all showed up like street urchins on her doorstep “These children are a disgraceful wreck and you all stink. INTO THE TUB!”
      dufmanno´s last blog post…Broad Spectrum : Waterproof, Non- Greasy, Moisturizing, Great For Blinding Enemies

  • ck April 15, 2012, 1:33 pm

    So, so, so true. Once when I was out of town my husband handed my daughter’s hair stuff to her teacher and asked her if she could do it for him because our daughter was unhappy with his attempts. The teachers thought this was the cutest thing ever, and talked about it for weeks. It never would’ve gone down that way had I tried to pull it off.

    • Absence Alternatives April 15, 2012, 7:56 pm

      if you or I had done this, we’d also be talk of the town, but not in such a positive light!

  • The Sweetest April 17, 2012, 2:05 pm

    I guess because it’s an atypical role. But if I decided to go to work as some bigshot financial consultant, or something typically male, I would get no round of applause. Women get the short end of the stick no matter what.

  • Jack@TheJackB April 18, 2012, 6:35 pm

    Some years ago I sat down at the mall with my then four year-old daughter and tried to put her hair up, “try” being the operative word.

    After several minutes of effort I realized that I had at least a half dozen moms staring at me, big smiles on their faces and I couldn’t help but bask in the glow of all the female attention.

    Eventually two of them came over and offered instruction on how to take care of her hair. There is more to the story but I am guessing that no one here wants to here about the praise I received for just being a parent.
    Jack@TheJackB´s last blog post…Twitter Is Dead!- Long Live Twitter!

    • Absence Alternatives April 19, 2012, 12:32 am

      LOL. No no no. Please do stay and tell us about the story! Although I am jealous, I too cannot help myself but oohs and ahhhs. Ok, it does help when the father is a looker. THAT is probably half the reason really.

  • Justine April 19, 2012, 12:51 am

    I remember reading an article about corporate dads and seeing this picture of a CEO (or some important figurehead) wearing his infant son with a Baby Bjorn while presenting to a packed audience. I naturally emitted an “awww…” and then I caught myself.

    I knew I wasn’t alone in this. What if that had been a woman? Would she have elicited that exact response or would we just roll our eyes thinking “we get it, you’re a mom” or wondering why couldn’t she just get a babysitter?
    Justine´s last blog post…More spring less break

    • Absence Alternatives April 27, 2012, 10:50 pm

      Actually, I believe that if a mom has done this, many would have been questioning her ability to dedicate herself fully to this job. It’s got to the point that when people ask me about my kids, politely, because that’s something you are supposed to do to show that you care, I never elaborate. I say one line and I move on to a professional discussion. Maybe I will talk more about my kids once I get to know the person better. But we are always at risk of being seen as “part time worker” if we carry on and on about our kids. Whereas when men do this, they are perceived as someone that’s figured out his priority, someone who’s figured out how to balance work and life.

  • alejna April 20, 2012, 7:54 am

    “Do we ever give mothers credits for simply trying without passing judgment?”

    Excellent question. I would say “not nearly often enough.”

    It’s interesting that you post this now, as all the judginess has been weighing on my mind. Two of my blogger friends (Emily and <a href="http://madamemeow.com/2012/04/16/hell-hath-no-fury/"Maria) just wrote about their experiences with rude assholes who publicly criticized their parenting. And another friend, whose daughter has had some major health challenges, mentioned the judgment that parents sometimes get from having their larger or older kids in strollers. I was shocked to learn that there is a whole website where people submit photos of big kids in strollers with the express intent to not only judge but to shame. WTF, people? Nobody can know what things are like for anyone else. I know that people judge me for shortcomings in many areas of my life, but some days I feel like I deserve a medal just for getting out of bed in the morning.

    The gender disparity issue is interesting, and often infuriating, as well. It irritates me to no end when people ask if my husband is “babysitting.” No, that’s called parenting. And come to think of it, the kids have come home far more often with things like stickers or flowers from store employees when John takes them out. Apparently, small children become cuter when in the care of an adult male.
    alejna´s last blog post…spring fever

    • Absence Alternatives April 29, 2012, 11:43 am

      Don’t get me started about the use of “babysitting” in the case when a husband is watching his own flesh and blood!

      I love your friend Emily’s rant VERY MUCH. You tell him, sister!!!!

  • naptimewriting April 20, 2012, 3:54 pm

    I often think this when I oooh over a man and his child.

    Part of it, honestly, is our biological drive to find a mate like that. We’re attracted to doting dads because we want one for our kids.

    Too bad my ovaries don’t know that ship has sailed.

    • Absence Alternatives April 29, 2012, 11:55 am

      LOL. I know that I will probably ooo and ahhh when I am 80. Ovaries are the ultimate cougars.

  • BigLittleWolf April 25, 2012, 1:58 pm

    You are so right. And we do this over and over (it’s also reinforced in the media and on tv). Surely enough time has passed with dads taking more active parenting roles that we might begin to see this as “normal” behavior.

    Still, it gets to us – as women. Perhaps because on some level, we see a more tender side revealed in a man?
    BigLittleWolf´s last blog post…Pictures at an Exhibition

  • Wicked Shawn April 25, 2012, 10:02 pm

    I am so atypical…….my respnse would be, “Seriously?!?! She’s at least 4 years old and you STILL don’t know how to do this?”

    I was fortunate in that the Former always took an active role. So, when I see dads who don’t, I just think they’re lame.

    The story about the CEO………if he were a she, she would have been crucified by corporate America, the media and all others for not being able to properly divide her work life and home life…….or some other complete BS.

    Double standards have a way of never leaving, they just become more glaringly obvious.
    Wicked Shawn´s last blog post…Voltaire, My Libertine Leader

    • Absence Alternatives April 29, 2012, 11:57 am

      YES to a female CEO bringing a baby with her to work. Maybe for a magazine cover story photo op. You know, like a joint promotion for lame movies such as “I don’t know how she does it”.

  • Ameena April 27, 2012, 3:35 pm

    This spoke to me…seriously. Such a GOOD point. Why do we ooh and aah over men trying to take care of their kids (often not doing a good job) and then judge women who are doing the same thing?

    Love. This.

    Have a great weekend my friend.

    • Absence Alternatives April 29, 2012, 11:58 am

      I would love to hear what happens when Ali goes out with Maya. Ha ha. Just imagining the post you would write is making me giddy. 😉

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