I was grocery shopping today and had the luxury of shopping by myself. While shopping, I saw a dad have a bad parent moment. The dad was on a mission to take his son to the bathroom. While lifting him out of the cart he smacked his son's head on a low door jam. As the dad comforted his son, the parental guilt was all over his face. Instantly, I felt a connection with the dad. I've been there. I've had plenty of bad mommy moments.
I really believe there's been a shift in the American dad. Not too long ago, you did not see dads carting kids to the grocery store ... you didn't see dads attending birthday parties or doing the back-to-school shopping. It seems to me that dads are really stepping up. In the course of that, they may have some bad dad moments. But making mistakes means that you're fully vested as a parent.
This encounter made me wonder whether dads are really getting the kudos they deserve for their increased participation. Is shared credit for parenting something that moms are really willing to allow? Being a mom is a major part of my identity. I judge myself by my internal mom performance meter.
In my house, my husband and I juggle responsibilities equally. He telecommutes during the day and my office is 25 miles away. That means he's better positioned to care for a sick child or attend a teacher conference. My DH is in law school in the evenings, so I do kid pickup, chauffeuring to activities and dinner.
Shared responsibilities seems like a fair deal, but I still struggle with mommy guilt when it's not me on the front line. On a recent business trip, I spent 10 minutes on the phone with my husband dictating the kids' needs and schedules. After confirming he was really on top of things, I realized that I was probably insulting him. The mommy guilt I was feeling about being away from my family had me trying to stay relevant. While I didn't want to hear that things were falling apart at home without me, I certainly didn't want to feel that my family was unaffected by my absence.
So ladies, does it make you feel less of a mom if your husband is "Super Dad?" How do you feel if your husband does something better than you? Is it easy to give your husband kudos for his parenting performance? Do you consider your husband and equal parent or more like your assistant?