I read a piece in Today and couldn’t help but smile at its sweetness. Dylan Dryer posted a picture of her son and her husband on Instagram that gave her husband little “shout out” for being a devoted dad to her son Ollie who has had the croup.
Dad stayed up with Ollie for two nights, even taking him outside in the cool night air on doctor’s orders to relieve his breathing. And he let mom sleep. Nice.
Having been through the croup and nighttime waking and caring for a sick child hundreds of times with my kids, I wondered why this dad deserved a shout out for being a parent. But, I do understand Dylan’s appreciation for her husband and thought that her choice of the words she used to describe her husband, “true partner” were very apt.
As expected when we put the piece on Grown and Flown Parents, the responses ranged from those who questioned if a man would write this about his wife to those who agreed that it’s nice to appreciate a dad who is doing a great job.
Isn’t that what we are looking for, a “true partner” in this business of child rearing? But what is a true partner. I was a better parent to younger kids and my husband is doing a bang up job parenting the young adults we now have, just as he was better at early morning pick ups and I was did the late night shifts?
Is there a double standard in that “mothering” is expected from mom, but praised when dad does it? What if both parents are mom, or dad?
Does partnering mean playing to your strengths?
Is it always 50/50? Does it need to be?
Does it matter if one partner has a more demanding job outside the home?
Is this just adherence to old gender norms and for same-sex parents does the picture look different?
What is the message we are sending our kids for the day they too become parents?
Does it change as your kids get older?
Are you the primary parent and do you have a true partner in parenting?