Parenting While Male? You’re Incapable

Imagine you’re walking through a park with a playground and you see many children, many mothers, and one man sitting on a bench.  He’s watching the children. What’s your first thought about him?

Now, imagine some of the mothers go over to him and confront him, saying that he’s making them uncomfortable watching the children. Of course, he sighs and says as cheerfully as possible that he’s watching his children. He’s a stay at home dad or he works from home and is taking a break with his children at the playground.  And then this happens:

Do you think he’s been unfairly treated? Or do you think the woman is right?

I’m definitely on the dad’s side. The woman is one of those people who thinks dads can’t take care of their own children and must have advice all the time or be told what he’s doing wrong. I’ve heard the stories, and it seems that dads who take care of their kids may be discriminated against.  Sometimes, moms think they’re kidnappers or pedophiles.

Here in Japan, I am happy to see that there are many younger fathers who take care of their kids along with their wives. However, many men are absent because they work long hours of overtime or go out with their boss after work (they often have no choice). But when I go out with my daughter to the playground, I’ve found that I’ve been approached by mothers who ask me how old my daughter is. As for the occasional father I see with their kids, they seem to be glad to see another father.

What I wonder is what it’ll be like in Canada if I take my daughter to the playground and watch her along with a few mothers. Will I get some of the same attitude as in the video? If they think I must have a difficult time and I’m incapable of taking care of my daughter, I’m of a mind to say that it must be sad for them to have a husband who doesn’t know how to be a parent.

Society needs to accept that fathers can be just as good a parent as mothers.

If you’re a parent, have you seen or experienced this kind of situation?

30 thoughts on “Parenting While Male? You’re Incapable”

  1. This is actually a good point because many women complain how they’re the ones taking care of the children and don’t want to be a housewife. All this while they say “Men should watch the kids too one in a while!” and then when the father actually does so, STILL feel the need to lash out at their “incompetence”. It’s a vicious circle…

      1. I think the stigma of “man does this and woman does that” is not something we can get rid of easily. It will take a long time for people to stop labeling genders.

        1. Very long time. Here in Japan, it’s still quite old-fashioned. When we go to Canada, I think my wife will find the change refreshing, as she hates the Japanese way of doing things. But she may also find a few other things difficult to adapt to, like how everyone says “thank you” at stores, not just the staff.

          1. I guess it’s not as in the manga they throw in your face. 😛
            I have always been curious in other cultures but I wouldn’t want it any different than what I have now though.

  2. I was a stay home dad this past school year. I would take our 3 year old to playgroup and it was always nice to see others dads. Usually, I only saw 1 other. I’ve never been discriminated against as in your story. But I could understand how it could happen. I have seen more and more fathers stepping up to help raise their kids.

  3. I’ve never encountered a father being harassed for looking after his kids… My first thought at seeing a dad at the playground would be that his wife is lucky to have him. 🙂

  4. My dream home life used to be 3-4 kids and a stay-at-home dad. Actually, I used to want to be a stay-at-home dad to 3-4 kids hahahha. But, no, I kinda have a serious crush on stay-at-home dads. Good fathers are my favorite. I think it’s a complex.

    At any rate, it’s a goddamned shame that people are so preoccupied with gender roles that a man on a bench at a park minding his own business is admonished for it just because it’s “typically a woman’s job” like wtf isn’t this 2015?

    1. I loved being a stay home dad last year. I knew it wasn’t going to last, that I would eventually be back to work. But I had a lot of fun with our 3 year old. I would totally do it all over again if I could 🙂 It was always nice to see other dads at the park, in playgroups, and generally being with their children.

      1. You are, consequently, my favorite. :]

        Really though that is awesome. I don’t see any reason fathers aren’t allowed to just be fathers, not just in a perfunctory, nominal sense.

        1. I never understood that either. We were out to supper one night and a young family came in – a 3 year old, a 2 year old and new born twins. Dad was very involved and they had it down to a system. I was seriously impressed 🙂

    2. I think one big problem is that people’s perception of a man sitting alone in a park around children is as a pedophile, molester, or kidnapper. I don’t get it. It’s extremely rare that a stranger would be like that. Most likely, it’s a family member that behaves like that. The fear-mongering going on these days has made people paranoid. I was a free range child. I want my daughter to be one, too. But there’s a great chance that people will call us negligent parents if we have a free range child. I just want to ask these people if they remember their own childhood, when nearly every kid was able to walk to school alone or play in the park without supervision, even when 6 or 7 years old. These days, they say that the world is more dangerous, but the statistics show that it’s actually safer! The statistics show that kids are highly unlikely to be hurt or kidnapped, and far more likely for that to happen at the hands of a relative. The stats also show that this desire to keep kids close at all times has turned them obese and incredibly unhealthy. It’s all the parents’ fault.

  5. Where I am, stay at home moms are even a rarity… It’s just nannies everywhere. Well I am a stay at home mom, but I work freelance, either with my daughter around, and as my fiancé has a great schedule, I work out of the house when he is home (cause dads are great for taking care of their kids).
    I am always glad when I see a parent, mother or father taking care of their child/children, what counts for me is that the parents are there for their kids.

    1. Definitely. I like seeing other parents being good with kids. I’ve seen far too many parents who are looking at their cell phone and telling their kid to shut up when they ask a question.

      1. The other day I had a great conversation with a sad who was playing with his daughter. He was a primary school teacher, I guess that’s a rare type of male too… I think you really shouldn’t worry cause generally the positive relationship can be seen.
        In my neighbourhood there are so many nannies but most of them don’t interact with the kids either.
        And questions are there to make us more intelligent.

        1. Male teachers for that age are pretty rare. My grade 4 and 6 teachers were men, and they were both great. But these days, parents worry too much, thinking they may be sexual predators. There have been a few teachers’ lives ruined because of a well-meaning pat on the back of a girl.

  6. I didn’t even watch the video because I didn’t have to. I agree with the dad. I know several stay-at-home-dads (one of them my husband!) and I know for a fact that they are just as capable as the moms of taking care of their kids. It’s just ridiculous to think otherwise. Period. 😛

  7. My husband, who works in tech, has several female co-workers whose husbands are the at-home parent with children. At least one of them is also planning to homeschool, so they are committed to this decision for the long haul. While there are a limited number of at-home dads in the US, there are lots more than when I was the female at-home parent of my daughters, now in their 20s. Even then, my husband was not regarded with suspicion if he was out and about with our daughters. It’s pretty common to see children with their dads here.

    1. That’s good. I like to see the dads out with their kids. But homeschooling is a big commitment. I don’t think I could. I’d prefer to have my daughter interact with other kids at school.

      1. I couldn’t have done homeschooling, either. I wanted our children to have peers to learn with/from, as well as professional instruction. Also, most of my husband’s relatives are public school teachers who would have looked askance if we had opted for homeschooling or private/parochial schools. I appreciate families who can do homeschooling well, but I think they are relatively rare.

        1. Two of my mom’s sisters and my dad’s sister were all public school teachers. I have great respect for teachers, and think they deserve more respect from society today. It’s sad how they’re treated these days.

            1. One of the schools we’re looking at for our daughter is one of the highest rated schools in the province with extremely high achievement rates. It’s a public school, of course, but the question is if they’ll bus from the neighbourhood we’ll be living in.

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