No, my husband is not a hero because he took our children to the store

A while back, my husband took both of our children to the store with him because I was cleaning like a mad woman to get the house ready for guests and working diligently to meet business deadlines.

On this trip to the store, a man saw my husband in the checkout line and made a comment that was something like, “You’re one helluva father to take both kids and grocery shop.”

Now, to many of you, this may mean nothing–and maybe it was nothing–but it rubbed me the wrong way. For weeks, I debated on whether or not I should write about it and have obviously come to the conclusion that it’s important I do. Because even if this particular instance wasn’t a backhanded compliment and insult towards the mother and wife on the other end of this man’s words, there have been plenty that are.

Let me preface any further argument with this: My husband is an outstanding person and father. He works hard but he devotes just as much time at home and even more time into our children’s lives. In my mind, he is the unwavering picture of a good man, and that’s why I chose to marry him.

Hold Hand

My husband Matthew holding our daughter’s hand.

I firmly believe that devoting equal time and effort as parents and as professionals should be the norm whether you’re a man, woman, mother or father. I also believe that if a parent wants to devote their entirety to working as a stay-at-home parent, that should be accepted as well and whether they’re a father or mother shouldn’t matter.

That being said, I don’t think any father deserves a pat a on the back for taking his children to the store. The majority of mothers take one, two, three, six, eight+ children to the store every week–and to school and to that dance recital and Billy’s basketball game yesterday and so on. Yet I don’t recall anyone ever calling me one ‘helluva’ mother for doing that because that’s what’s expected as a woman and mother.

For so long in our society, the norm was that men worked to provide for the family and women had children and stayed home to take care of them. It’s an ideal ingrained in several generations and it’s been a struggle to turn the corner. But, people, it’s time.

Today, women fight to have an equal salary while working twice as hard to get there, and we’re not there yet. Women hold only 4.8% of the CEO positions at large, multi-million-dollar companies, meaning men hold the other 95.2%.

On the other hand, only 3.5% of men are stay-at-home dads.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with being a woman who takes her children to the store and keeps up the home, but there’s absolutely no reason that a man can’t do the same. Men are not at a disadvantage as parents just like women should not be any less capable as CEOs.

There’s a reason that when a woman obtains a powerful career or position, the first question people want to ask is in reference to her motherhood–“How do you balance being a mother and having a career?” or “Do you regret not having any children?”–but as a father, the questions in reference to parenting are few and far between.

There’s also a reason that when my husband took our two children to the store, a stranger was proud to let him know how spectacular he is for doing something 96.5% of women do day in and day out. I don’t know about you, but to me, that sounds more offensive than it does complimentary.

It will continue to take people like my husband who work full time yet STILL come home to be a father to ingrain a societal norm. It will continue to take women who strive to climb the career ladder while STILL being a mother every single day. It will take men who like to cook dinner and women who don’t mind fixing cars. It will take a society who is willing to open their eyes to equality much like we, as humans and as a country, have had to do repeatedly throughout history. It will take time, it will take effort, it will take more blog posts…

…but to the man who thinks my husband is one ‘helluva’ father, you’re right, but it’s not because his wife didn’t take our two children to the store that day. It’s because that’s what a real father does: he parents, just like mothers.

22 thoughts on “No, my husband is not a hero because he took our children to the store

  1. Well said. My husband has always been the same way. I’m sure he changed at least as many diapers as I did. He wouldn’t have had it any other way.

    1. Yes! And beyond that, sometimes people say things like “Oh, you’re so lucky your husband helps out with the kids,” to which I think, “That’s not luck. I married him because I know what type of person he is and that’s how I think equal relationship should be.”

    1. Right, and I’m not trying to take away from dads who take their kids out. It’s awesome when any parent does it, and any parent who parents deserves a medal! Not just dads who take their kids out because they’re men.

    1. Exactly! And it is a positive thing and a step in the right direction that more fathers are doing this, normally (I’m not trying got take away from dads–or moms–who do these things everyday), but that’s how it should be anyway. You’re right–it’s parenting.

  2. Beautifully written and so well said!! I work part time outside the home and my husband works full time. I do more housework than he does, but he absolutely helps. And he truly shares parenting 50/50. I wouldn’t accept anything less. They’re his children too and they love him and want to be with them.

    1. Exactly! And I know every couple and each set of parents have different things that work best for them–sometimes mom does all the cooking and dad does the dishes or mom changes diapers and dad takes out trash–but there should still be equality in time and effort whether it be work or kids! We’re all capable.

  3. Very well said! Society gives dad a medal when he “Babysits” his own children and doesn’t burn the house down!
    I didn’t realize the number for stay at home dads was so low!

  4. On the flip side, I’ve received compliments at the store for taking all my kids with me … but they’ve always come from other women … probably because they know it’s not always easy, and you do what you gotta do. 🙂

  5. I love this! My husband does his fair share with the kids, and it’s always “Poor Houston..” and “He looks so tired..” from my mother-in-law. Really?! A battle I’ll never win, lol. so I just smile and nod.

  6. I wish there weren’t so many lazy fathers dragging the good guys down.
    OR low expectation women.
    My husband gets praise all the time where no one spots a mom doing the same thing and tells her, “well done!”

  7. Yes people say this all the time.. my hubby is super hands on, always has been. But we both work full time so thats how it goes.. we are equal all the way down the line. I always make snide comments when people say stuff like that.. i cant help it. 😉

    1. Agreed. I do understand that it’s been ingrained in society to the point where so many people don’t even realize the weight or deeper meaning of what they’re saying, but the snide comments often run through my head, and depending on the situation, sometimes out of my mouth 🙂

  8. This is a great post and I agree that our society feeds this warped sense of responsibility for men as fathers. Many men do expect a medal for showing up and parenting their kids for five minutes. Its sad! Its nice to see men who understand the importance of being involved and doing the same things moms do without expecting any kind of reward other than the love and appreciation of their family.

  9. I am so with you on this one! The sexism that exists in parenting is so discouraging. I get so upset that I am held to different parenting standards than my husband, and still have to question whether I am a good mom or not. I don’t think my husband ever worries that he is a good dad, because he can do the minimum (in our society and culture) and be AMAZING! I struggle with it daily honestly. I really wish that this whole mind set would evolve, this post is a good start! Thanks for writing it!

    1. Also, I just wanted to point out that my husband does WAY more than most dads, I was just saying that our culture rewards dads for doing the bare minimum while moms are just expected to do it all. Realized after I wrote this comment that it may seem like I was saying my husband doesn’t do anything…oops 🙂

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