I've had to rearrange my working life this week. I had a doctor's appointment bright and early Monday morning and didn't feel like coming in to work beforehand. Lauren also had Doughnuts with Dad's on Tuesday so I couldn't go to work until that was done. I almost always have to be walking out of the door at work at 4:45 because Bob starts at 5:00.
Bob was off on Monday so I worked until 6. The only problem was I had scheduled pictures for the girls at 7:00. It wasn't the challenge most people thought. Bob gave the girls a bath, brushed their hair, had the outfits ironed. The only thing he did "wrong" was putting pink socks on Lauren. He is black/white color blind. I arrived home at 6:15 and put a barrette in Shannon's hair, a head band in Ellie's, and looked for one lost shoe (there is always at least one lost shoe in our house).
When I told this story to people at work, they were shocked. They were shocked that he could do that all. I'm convinced if I had done it no one would have batted an eye. It would have been expected at me.
He stays home with the girls during the day and works at night. He takes such excellent care of them. Not exactly how I would. No one would be in the "catpiller jamas" at 12 if I was home. But excellent care of them. They go to the zoo, the Y, play outside in the summer. When we tell people he stays home and will stay home with 4 kids (the oldest being not yet 7), it elevates him to sainthood.
He takes all of them shopping. I do too but there is a notable different. When I take the girls and they act far less than perfect, people glare at me. When he takes them and they act like the wild hooligans they are, people stop and smile sympathetically and offer to help. No one has ever offered to help me even on our worst shopping trip. I think they just mutter something about some people not knowing what birth control is.
I have yet to figure out why this double standard exists. Is it that we hold mothers to such a high unattainable standard? Or is it that we expect so little of fathers that merely do something is "good enough?" It's probably a combination of both. Sadly, neither shows kids a proper model for mothers or fathers.