‘Active Dad’ vs. ‘Active’ Mom
This post is going to turn some heads and/or push some buttons. My intention is to share my feelings and to make you think, not to sway your opinion, change your mind or start an argument. This is simply a conversation that has lived inside my head for a while. One that I’ve had at times with a couple of different women, but most often with my husband.
Have you ever heard the phrase ‘Active Dad’? I’ve heard it thrown around in sentences like ‘Oh he’s such an Active Dad.’ Instant nails on a chalkboard to me, like instant…Hold up. Have you ever heard the phrase ‘Active Mom’? Or was the phrase you actually heard more like ‘Active’ Mom? Any idea where I am going with this?
When I first decided to make this my weekly blog topic, I had a certain narrative in my head that I was going to follow. But before I started writing, I did what every good writer does…I started with Google. I googled (love how that is a verb now) both ‘active dad’ and ‘active mom’. The results in Google were eye opening, but not surprising to me…or maybe they were but they shouldn’t have been.
When I googled ‘active dad’ this is what came up:
When I googled ‘active mom’ this is what came up:
Do you see anything alarming with the difference in results? Anything that surprises you or makes you take a second look?
I see something that takes me back a step. When you search ‘active dad’, the results are related to being a present parent. Articles that relate to how to be involved in your child’s life. When you search ‘active mom’, the results come back more like ‘active’ mom. Meaning everything relates to physically moving, personal training, bootcamp. Sit with that for a minute. I know this is only a google search, but that alone proves my point and is nails on a chalkboard to me.
The bottom line is that ‘Active Mom’ doesn’t actually exist. All Moms are ‘Active Moms’ (except the very rare circumstance).
It is 2022 here people, not 1950. Why then, in 2022, does the term ‘Active Dad’ exist? Why does society praise Dads when they take an active parenting role? Why is this the exception and not the rule?
I’ve heard comments from people in my own life who praise my husband for actually taking a role in our kids lives. While I’m so very thankful for all he does do for the kids, I’m not about to give him praise simply for being around (sorry babe). Because in my mind, that’s a given…that’s not special. Nobody tells him how lucky he is for having a wife who actually does things with his kids, like feed them, take them some place or stay home. That’s what you do as a parent, you take an active role in your kids lives. It’s called Dad or Mom.
It’s possible that I lost some of you or some of you are thinking that I’m some feminist on her soapbox. Probably going to lose some more of you when I say the rest, but here goes.
At the beginning of July I had coffee with a friend and we agreed that sometimes it’s actually women who are the problem. Sometimes it’s women who let men off the hook way too easy. Women try to control way too much or have these unrealistic expectations.
3 things I believe to be true:
- My husband deserves to develop his own relationship with his kids. Whatever that looks like for them.
- My children deserve to have their own relationship with their dad, one that I’m not intruding on.
- His relationship with our kids allows me time to do things for myself. I deserve to be me too.
Dads don’t always do everything a mom does the way she would do it. The house is sometimes a disaster when you get back, the kids might not have the best looking hair or be dressed in something that matches. But at the end of the day, that’s all white noise.
Everyone has their own situation and for some, this does not apply. Some dads are just straight up absent a$$holes for that I apologize.
But I’m talking to those moms who are just holding on a bit too tight to the reigns, who wont let go of control or are always nagging.
Let go. Let him be his own kind of dad. Let’s empower more men to jump right in. No more ‘Active Dad’ talk or praising them uselessly. That’s all a part of the job.
And please please please whatever you do, stop saying you have to ‘babysit’ your kids. YOU DON’T BABYSIT YOUR OWN CHILDREN.