So I was out today with some friends walking in the dales. Mandy wasn’t well so manned the fort at home; and so I was entrusted with Jasper and all the paraphernalia associated with escorting a child including the new baby carrier-rucksack thing.
About half-way round we stopped in a pub for a bit of nosebag, and upon departure asked if I may use one of the ante-rooms to install my son into the rucksack (something which he hates on a par with being strapped into his car seat or my loathing of Three). A woman then stood and watched me do it, and then when Jasper inevitably kicked off, she asks patronisingly “Are you alright?”
I felt like saying, “No, I’ve made it through 24 years of my life, managed to secure a mortgage, a long term partner, a decent job, am told I’m doing a good job at being a dad, and even managed to navigate to The Red Lion in Burnsall, but now I’ve come up against a rucksack, all of a sudden I’m flummoxed and will grind to an emotional standstill, staring blankly at the plethora of straps and buckles.”
Now I’m sure she was trying to be helpful, and probably didn’t even mean it flippantly, however why is it in the bra-burning age we live in, men still can’t be entrusted with our own children?
I know gender-based stereotypes still exist; men are better drivers (unfortunately we know this and because we wear our egos on our sleeves, have more accidents) and women are better at sewing, not because they have mechanical sympathy for the sewing machine but because they’ve a fine eye for detail (and the small hands necessary to thread a needle). All I proclaim is that some men (maybe not all) can be just as good parents as their female counterparts. So when I’m spending time with my son, don’t presume I’m being a bad parent, because I’m just about certain I’m doing a better job than a lot of mothers.