By Ayisha Karim (Pharmacist)
It was when I went to a friend’s house with my child and husband. I was offering condolences and knew it would be challenging to visit my friend’s house. Challenging not only because of offering condolences and not knowing what to say, but also, because I’ll have my 2 year old daughter with me, who will obviously not understand the emotions someone may face when they have lost someone.
I ended up comforting my friend who lost their relative and hugging them whilst they cried. At the very same time, I had my 2-year-old daughter running around their house almost smashing their things. My husband, (her father), obviously would try and stop her from this and distracted her as much as he could to get her to behave. The response I heard was: “He is such a hands on dad” and "wow he is so good with her”. Of course, I do not want to take this away from him. He is a “hands on” dad and he loves our daughter very much- for that I am truly thankful as I know not everyone has this. However, I was also there taking care of my child and comforting my friend at the same time.
It felt like a bit of a slap on the face that men get applauded for doing the most simple of things like distracting their kids, or “babysitting” them.
It is not just in this one instance I have noticed these comments. Not one person has ever said, “you’re a hands on mum” or “you’re so good with her”. I am the one who feeds her, bathes her, does everything for her, spends the most time with her, takes her to her doctor appointments, whilst working, and taking care of the house. It felt like a bit of a slap on the face that men get applauded for doing the most simple of things like distracting their kids, or “babysitting” them. That’s another term I get so annoyed with. When I finally get a date in the diary with my girls to have no children time, I have to plan this weeks and months in advance to ensure my husband has time off to take care of our little one so I can go out. When I finally get to do this, I hear the words “where is she?”, “who is she with?”, “is her dad babysitting her?”- erm, no one asks the dad this when they are out with their mates. And how on earth is it “babysitting” when he’s taking care of his own child.
It takes 2 people to make a baby and therefore the 2 primary people who should be equally raising them, are the parents. Why is it that being a mother basically feels like doing everything on our own with a “bit of help” from the dad? Why do we have such low standards for what is the norm in parenting our children? When we have just given birth and been in days of labour, we deserve a rest, but instead, a lot of the time, I hear “oh must be so hard for Dad” or “wow look at the dad carry the baby!”. I again feel like this is a complete slap in the face to all the women who have literally just had their insides ripped out of them and gone through life changing events, to having dads being praised for just holding their child, whilst the rest of us have babies, other children, baby bags and car seats to hold and no one even bothers to open a door for us.
I am sick of it. Especially as a Muslim mother, where in our cultures (and I know this is not from our religion) but culturally, we are expected to do EVERYTHING.
I am sick of it. Especially as aMuslim mother, where in our cultures (and I know this is not from our religion) but culturally, we are expected to do EVERYTHING. And it’s physically impossible. I am not saying I shouldn’t be thankful or grateful for the care dads provide, but I also don’t want to applaud a dad for just taking care of their child or holding their children.
As it is Mother’s Day, I’m afraid a crappy card and half-hearted breakfast just isn’t enough for what we do as mums and what we put up with. So, this rant is for all you mothers who are having a hard time not being recognised or acknowledged for the things you do every single day. We are amazing, and yes, we are super women, but we should not have to “do it all” to be superwomen. We need support, and shared responsibilities for our children. Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing Mamas who deserve so much more!
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