What’s The Definition of Parenting? Has The Dictionary Has Got It Wrong?
Disclaimer; I don’t normally use profanities in my blog posts, but I am paraphrasing so I felt justified using them. Also, I’m a little riled so I’m ranting in this post. I’m letting you know up front so you can stop reading if you’re easily offended by swear words.
I went to Google and typed in “parenting meaning” and it brought up one of those windows within the result screen where it gives you a dictionary meaning. This is what is reads;
parentˈpɛːr(ə)nt/verbgerund or present participle: parenting1. be or act as a mother or father to (someone).“exhaustion is incompatible with good parenting”“all children are special to those who parent them”
1. be or act as a mother or father to (someone).
That’s too cute. Um, father? Father is parenting? Really Google, is that what you think? Well Google, clearly you don’t have your own Facebook page now, do you? And if you do, you don’t follow parenting pages do you?
I wrote about it earlier in one of my most popular posts “Dear Mums, Please Talk to Your Husbands.” Okay, I know that I keep making it more popular by going on the “attack” on parenting pages where they keep sharing those “anti-dad” and “only mothers can relate to this part of parenting like tiredness, and constantly cleaning up, blah, blah, blah…” memes. I keep posting the link in the faint hope that I will get through to some of the mothers who keep sharing these, and some of the pages that keep sharing these.
Look, maybe it is not my place to be following parenting pages on Facebook. Maybe these are supposed to be secret women’s clubs and I inadvertently pressed like in the hope that I could be part of a community called parents. Maybe I could share in the joys, the heartaches, the jokes, and the tears. Maybe I could follow a page created to promote products for children and as a dad think “golly gee, I DO need to get a wooden marionette for my child, because plastic is SO darn evil and this Lego shit, well, we’ve all seen the memes about standing on Lego and how the flat nubs become razor sharp points once the lights go out.”
No offence to those mumpreneurs who have turned their love of all things crafty into a home business. And no offence particularly to those who are promoting natural products like wooden toys, 100% cotton clothing, and the like. You are doing a fantastic job and I fully support what you are doing which is why I follow your page. I hope that my additional like (and sometime two likes if I follow from my personal pages and my Facebook page for this blog) has helped you keep up the engagement with your audience. I hope that my likes at those non-gender specific parenting memes has also kept up the engagement with your audience. But I can’t share in those ones that are only aimed at mothers.
Look, I’m happy to sit back and think nothing of those “this is why mothers need to drink wine” memes. You can have them. My kids don’t make me need to have an alcoholic drink, but I’m not judging you. That’s your escape. That’s your outlet. This is mine.
But I would like a little more inclusion for us fathers. I wonder if the gender imbalance in the parenting arena is because many fathers feel like they are left out. I wonder if they feel excluded and instead of fighting or merely becoming trolls on your page to be delete or blocked (it has almost happened to me before I have pleaded my case), they simply lay down their guns and surrender (remember that song?) I wonder, if parenting pages, magazines and websites included fathers in more than just a passing comment whether we would see more active fathers, and more engagement to know what dads who are not Dad Bloggers are thinking.
And I think I really need to start calling out those pages. I really don’t want to, but I feel that maybe I have to. I will start by sending the page a private letter, email or message. I will ask them to be more inclusive. Maybe share a positive dad meme or photo or story.
Now I know you could argue that there are plenty of pages for dads that showcase dads in a positive light and share photos, stories and memes that promote active fathers. Facebook pages like Becoming Dad and their subsequent website do a great job of this, and whilst this page and the website are followed by women who can see that dads can be active, these are pages aimed at dads (I guess) rather than parents as a collective (and yet, they don’t exclude mothers). What I am talking about are those who use “parenting” in their name, title, subject line or catchphrase but then proceed to be aimed at mothers only.
“Fuck we are awesome mothers, dads can’t be half as good as us.”“Dads don’t do any chores.”“Dads are fucking lazy”
Mombie (n): someone resembling a living person, characterised by a staggering walk and a blank stare. Caused by having 1 or more children. Unlike a zombie in search of brains, the mombie is usually in search of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.
Someone? That would imply a person who could be female or, wait for it, male. But, no; not dads.
Sadly, many of these pages are created by and run by feminists. I was going to use neo-feminists because the description given for that particular arm of the feminist movement accurately describes these women, but I didn’t. Take that as noted. Now I bring that up because these women are fighting the good fight on behalf of their “sisters” and they are breaking through the glass ceiling in many factors of gender inequality. That’s fantastic. But as I always state when debating or arguing with feminists; if you don’t fight for the rights of men in fields where they are shown prejudice against them, then the equality movement as a whole is missing a huge chunk of its fight.
I’ve already made my peace with a few of the women running some Facebook pages that I have gone on the attack with. That sounds harsh, it’s not really an attack, it’s more of me making them aware that I was offended by one of their memes. I found that it was unduly sexist against dads. I spoke up, we’ve discussed it; sometimes publicly on their page, sometimes privately in Facebook Messenger (a.k.a. Private Message).
I know that as a dad, as a male of our species I am in the minority when it comes to following parenting pages. I know that I might be in the 2% minority (statistic confirmed by a few parenting pages I have asked about their insights) but maybe, as I mentioned earlier, we are only the majority because men don’t feel included. And so with a 98% female audience it stands to reason that these “mums are the best parents” and “dads are shit” memes get shared and liked, and comments are then made that include the old cliché chestnut “too true.” Yes, if a “mums are great” or “dads are crap” meme is shared there will always be one mum that writes the “too true” comment. It’s the equivalent of the “too cute” comment that MUST be written by at least one person under a photo of a new born baby.
So now, it’s time to don my helmet and my chain-mail armour and grab my sword. I am going on a crusade. I want to see if these parenting pages can start to include pro-father memes. I want to see if we can get the 98% to start tagging in their partners and sharing THESE memes on their page to be “liked” by male friends who are dads. I am sure we can do this.
I am lucky in the sense that 35% of my followers are men, but I know that the vast majority of that 35% are my fellow Dad Bloggers. But, if any of my fellow Dad Bloggers or the non-blogging dads who follow (oh, there’s a great esoteric joke that I could go with, but, nah, those who are on my wavelength will have a laugh to themselves, I’m sure) would like to mention in my comments any pages that are so-called parenting pages but actually are more like “mothers only” pages, that would be good. And this is open to any mother who would like to join with me in what I might have enough courage to call a movement one day.
Should I start a Equality For Dads on Facebook campaign? What say you?