I’m a single dad who alternates taking care of my 18-month-old daughter with his mum. When I search websites and books I find that most of the time the mum is referred to as the parent. It’s very unfair to good fathers who care for their children. Why is this the case in this day and age of so-called equality?
Back in the ancient days of Rome, fathers had total control over their children. They could sell their children, or even kill them. Mothers’ rights were nonexistent. This idea of paternal supremacy was further perpetuated by British common law. In the 1700s women had no political rights and were forbidden to enter most occupations. In those days, it was a father’s job to prepare his children to live in the world outside the home. In the 19th century, courts gradually began to place limits on the father’s near absolute right to his children. As that century progressed, young children came to be regarded as having special needs that mothers were best suited to meet. From that point on society has made two assumptions:
1) By nature, women make better parents than men.
2) Mothers are more important to their children than fathers.
These assumptions have come to be known as the “motherhood mystique” by experts who argue that raising children shouldn’t be the exclusive domain of women any more than work outside the home should be the exclusive domain of men. Our society is still heavily biased against men as parents, but progress is being made. I personally believe progress in this area would accelerate if so many men didn’t themselves buy into the motherhood mystique by taking a backseat in parenting.
In our society, men grow up believing women know more about children than men, and women grow up believing they’re superior to men when it comes to parenting. Just as you have discovered, my experience has been that if men apply themselves, they can nurture and care for children just as well as women.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.