Several times a week I get notes wondering why I don’t include dads in my articles. The responders are sometimes dads, sometimes moms, sometimes just curious and sometimes down-right accusatory. Like this.
“I’ve been parenting for 27 years, and there’s some great wisdom here – but why label it just for moms?? This article is equally as valid for dads. We do neither ourselves nor our co-parents (the dads) any favours by writing so many articles about parenting as if they are only written for mothers. If we truly want both moms and dads to equally parent, then we need to simply call them parents, and stop implying that moms are the real parents…”
So I felt it was time to respond. Time to articulate exactly why my post was “I Forgot How to Be the Happy MOM” and not “I Forgot How to Be the Happy Parent” or “Why Being a Mom is Enough” was not “Why Being a Parent is Enough.”
So here goes.
My profound, well thought out, amazing reason that should require a drumroll is this:
I am NOT a dad.
It’s as simple as that.
We exist in a culture that celebrates differences and yet wants us writers to make sure to include everyone in our writing so that there are no differences and yet if there were no differences it would just be writing about, well, nothing.
Maybe it doesn’t sound philosophical or trendy, but trust me when I tell you this – I am less honoring of dads when I, a mom, claim to have the same insight and wisdom and then write an article that puts all of us in the same box assuming the same feelings. Then, instead of the above quote, I would receive emails asking how I could assume to understand the feelings of dads and think they were exactly like mine.
For example, my son Samuel has Celiac Disease and that gives me a bit of credibility in writing about the nuances of raising a child gluten free. I do not have the authority to assume that my journey with Samuel qualifies me to write about raising a child with Type 1 Diabetes. I could write a letter called, “to the parent with medical issues…” and yet there isn’t the same level of power, heart and personal story telling as my letter “to the mom of the little boy with celiac disease.” Sometimes that insight can’t be found when one writes diluting individual perspective.
Just because my words are written to moms does not mean I’m attempting to disregard the work and wonderful things that fathers do. There is in no way that in writing encouraging notes to moms that I am attempting to diminish anything that dads do in this world of parenthood.
I’m not even sure why there is so much energy from dads telling me that I’m not including them. I’ve never excluded them, I’m just writing to those that I understand. In fact, to those dads I say “write” because you have a voice.
We all of have different points of views.
I truly believe there is more power when we stop trying to make everything sugar coated to match everyone and never offend versus deciding to write about the perspective that we are in. Just because an article is written specifically to moms does not mean that that author undervalues dads. And just because someone writes to dads does not mean that person does not value moms.
We live in a culture that is so easily offended and because of it people are often quiet in their true opinions and thoughts. The beauty of the human race is that we are all different – we all have dreams and hopes and perspectives. Let’s stop attempting to squish everyone’s perspective into one global box and being upset if we don’t include someone – instead let’s remember the power, beauty and awesome when we allow ourselves to learn from someone else’s viewpoint.
I love reading articles on my friends Life of Dad site. Do you know why?
Because it’s from the perspective of a dad.
I can learn about what it’s like to be dad in this crazy digital world – I get a glimpse into their hearts and their struggles and hopes and parenting dreams. And I don’t have to be upset because it’s not called “Life of Parents” but rather can celebrate that a bunch of dads have had the courage to share their stories with others. Because you know what?
When we share we are not alone.
So dads of the world — thank you, thank you, thank you for all you do. I want you to know how much I appreciate you and what you do for your families. It is to be honored, and as I tell moms here, you are enough, you are amazing and you are appreciated.
And moms of the world — thank you, thank you, thank you for all you do. I want you to know how much I appreciate you and what you do for your families. It is to be honored, and as I just told the dads here, you are enough, you are amazing and you are appreciated.
Stepping down for now.
Thank you for once again being brave enough to go there. This is the most perfect response.
Thank you, Rachel, for a unique and exemplary blog. My three children are adults, one with a young child. Your writing brings me back to 30+ years ago when I was a young parent, relevant to the feelings I had then and still work through with adult children and a grandchild. Although your lens is that of a mom, your post on anxiety rings true for so many.
Please continue to write with a brave heart and pen. You are a breath of fresh air. Blessings to you and your family.
Rachel, just wanted to say that all your words about Moms is so very enough. It’s indeed a brave thing to put yourself out there to the vast anonymous audience that doesn’t have anything to lose by criticizing you. Your blog is good. God bless.
I stumbled across your blog this afternoon while looking for ways I could bless my three daughters and son. I love your response. Please don’t let those harsh and critical souls get to you (I can see that you are not). With so many in our world today embracing gender neutrality it is refreshing to know we can still take pride in being MOM and/or DAD. Thanks.
I’m a dad and recently my kids have two houses to live at now. I read most all the articles and don’t pay attention to if it’s addresses just moms. I subscribe to stuff for dads and to moms and to parenting sights. I take it all in to be a better parent and helps see things in a different perspective, that most parents(moms&dads) need to see. Over the years I’ve come to realize that I’m a parent not just a dad.
This was a great reply!!! I love reading blogs and articles that are for mom’s. I am a mom! I dislike being a parent because it takes away from just being mom. I can never be sad because I am a woman which makes me a mom. If their father was involved in their lives, then combined we would be parents, but I would still always be mom. I’m glad to be in a community that rarely uses the term parents, but refers instead to “so-and-so’s mom and dad” instead. Those our the roles we are have. I am so much more than a parent…I am a Mom!!!