Post Father’s Day Post (#323)

Compared to Mother’s Day, Father’s Day is pretty recent. It only exists because certain politicians got all whiny about how dads in America were bereft of recognition. Instead of self-soothing with their higher wages, or their ability to assault women with impunity, or their success despite white mediocrity, they demanded their very own holiday.

President Nixon signed Father’s Day into law in 1972. Yes, NIXON, the most corrupt U.S. President until Trump demanded Nixon hold his beer.

Mother’s Day, at best, says “thanks for all the unpaid emotional labor of child-rearing, please have this one day off.” Ironically, it often means more work for a person who is already overworked and underpaid.

Father’s Day? Father’s Day is ridiculous. We live in a damned patriarchy. Every day is Father’s Day.

Every day the mom network has stories of moms managing kids, work, pets, and broken appliances while this husband went golfing or that husband was hungover from poker. Moms struggle to recover from things like surgery and childbirth, getting up when they should be lying down because their husbands are shit (and allowed/ expected to be shit) at coping with recalcitrant toddlers and teenagers.

As a society, we allow men to focus on their own needs (be it their career or their Crossfit workout) while expecting moms to always hold down a fort teeming with screaming children–even while they’re holding down their own job. Men’s wages even increase once they have kids, despite doing less around the house, while women get penalized. (The combination of pandemic and social media threw this disparity into high relief.)

The result? Less women are getting married. Less women are having kids. More women opting out of a shit system where even single moms have more leisure time than married ones.

Good call, women.

Now, there are some great dads out there. And we certainly hear about them! In fact, the very first state-wide celebration of Father’s Day in the U.S. was in honor of a widower who raised his 6 kids when his wife died—some 40 years after 200,000 widows had to raise kids alone after the U.S. Civil War.

The media is all over these good dads:

This dad learned to braid his daughter’s hair!

This dad coaches his daughter’s team and not his son’s!

This dad bought his daughter tampons isn’t that fucking amazing!

Seriously. How low is the bar for dads?

I mean, take Andy. No, don’t really take him, my husband is a great cook, can dance, makes decent money, and has solid health insurance.

But…Andy would also give our child 12 hours of screen time a day if I weren’t around so he could play Clash Royale or read the news in peace. Andy wouldn’t have done the work to get Baby D into swim classes, Junior Lifeguards, or any sports. Without my  badgering guidance, Andy definitely wouldn’t have volunteered to coach any sports, or signed Baby D up for Cub Scouts. There wouldn’t be father-son trips to McDonad’s Playland, let alone the beach.

Our kid would also be wearing clothes he outgrew 2 years ago.

Yet my fellow moms shrug off this standard dad behavior. Instead, they are in awe over the fact that my husband goes to the Farmer’s Market and cooks on the weekends. They repeatedly tell me how lucky I am.

Can you imagine being amazed if a mom went to the market and made dinner?

Other women tell me what a great dad Andy is because he goes to his son’s sports games—even though he’s missed a few while injured or out of town.

Meanwhile, my Surgeon Sister works long, unpredictable hours and misses some of her daughters’ events. When Surgeon Sis introduced herself as “A’s mom” at swim meet, a woman blurted out, “You’re A’s mom? I thought you were dead!”

The bar for moms is set so high you’d have to be an eagle to fly over it.

The bar for being a good dad is so fucking low a dachshund couldn’t get under it.

But don’t worry, I’m not a total monster. Yesterday we still celebrated Father’s Day in our house.

I walked the dogs early while Andy had coffee and read or played video games. Just like every other day.

I took Baby D to specialized soccer training while Andy relaxed, as I do every Sunday.

We gave Andy new bourbons to try and a few other gifts, plus his favorite doughnuts and apple fritters. Then I took Baby D and some friends to a pool for the afternoon, followed by pizza and frozen yogurt—handling my kids’ activities and social life like I do every day.

Cuz every day is Father’s Day.

Published by

Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

22 thoughts on “Post Father’s Day Post (#323)”

  1. I can’t tell you how much I love reading your posts! How will we know if you published / when you publish something? I’m just thinking that due to privacy concerns you may not find it appropriate to share the news on this blog. Or maybe you could keep the pseudonym? Anyways, thank you!

    1. Oh, thanks, Maple! That’s a lovely thing to hear. Right now the latest book is on an editor’s desk, but who knows if it will ever be published? I’ll find a way to let my readers know, though, don’t worry. 🙂

    1. You are welcome!

      Don’t get me wrong, I love Baby D more than anything else on this planet. Wouldn’t trade him for anything. But to raise a child well in the United States (with no government or extended familial support) requires either a ton of money or a ton of labor (that generally falls to the mother).

  2. “Instead of self-soothing with their higher wages, or their ability to assault women with impunity, or their success despite white mediocrity, they demanded their very own holiday.”

    Are you saying all fathers assault women and are white? And showing love to your parents isn’t about money.

    1. The 1972 Congress who voted to make Father’s Day into a U.S. holiday was 97% white and 98% male, mostly from the upper-middle class (also more than 80% Christian, mostly Protestant). They had (and still have) no small amount of privilege.

      Showing love to your own parents isn’t always about money, no (Trump children excepted). But creating a holiday to celebrate those who already have privilege and power in a country? Pretty self-serving.

  3. Ouch!

    I mean, I get it. But I like to think I’m one of the good dads. I was a hell of a lot better father to my kids than their mom was a mother. I’ve never discussed publicly on this blog the levels of her monstrosity (and, in fact, just deleted my much-longer version of this comment detailing her crimes, because this is your post, not mine).

    Having said that (and having NOT said a lot more), I realize the point you are making and agree that, for the majority, every day is Father’s Day and no day is ever really Mother’s Day. But there are a lot of really good dads out there who meet the standards of a raised bar and deserve a day of recognition. At the very least, I feel (hope) that society’s attitudes are changing. I am ALL for equality!

    1. You can totally do a dissertation here. Or your own post.

      You aren’t wrong. I do have male friends who’ve really had to take over when their wives were malignant narcissists or had mental illnesses, etc. But society fawns all over these “good” dads, while vilifying single moms (or even moms who pack too many lunchables.)

      Maybe someday childrearing will become more egalitarian. But not any time soon. For now, the vast majority of moms do more and are judged much more harshly (while still being paid less).

  4. My late husband, my dad, and one son-in-law don’t fit your description. The other son-in-law does, Although I have to say that his wife, my oldest daughter, has amazing energy and has always preferred working hard and fast and keeping busy to waiting around (her least favorite thing). She takes after her dad. I’m more the lazy, slow-moving type.

    But I see what you mean. Cultural norms through the decades have expected too much of women and given them too little recognition and compensation for what they do. I hope things are beginning to change for the better.

    1. Andy helps more with household chores–especially cooking–than most husbands. And he recognizes that he should aspire to be more involved with Baby D, which means that he can be shamed/ badgered into activities. But is he the one thinking ahead about preschools, vaccinations, sports, or D’s future? Nope. Nor is he the one insisting that Baby D learn to do dishes, laundry, weeding, clean the cat box, or express his feelings with words. And he’s definitely not the one making sure the child gets enough exercise to keep him out of trouble.

      In most households, moms simply care more about the needs of their offspring and put the kids first. I don’t know how much is biological and how much is cultural, but, like you, I hope that we’re changing.

  5. Amen to this post!!! I am showing it to my husband right away!

    I think most women didn’t even realize how undervalued our family management skills/labor was until the last decade (at least, I didn’t!). I hope with the next generation (like with baby D!) men are raised with more aware parents and their role in society, and that way they can learn to be more proactive, considerate and take on more of the burden

    And that story about your sister made me laugh, haha… I can’t believe they thought she was dead!

    LOVE this post — and I echo Maple up there — if you publish a book please let us know :D. I hope it’s an awesome fantasy book, haha!

    PS: Baby D photo is soooo cute.

    1. Oh, so undervalued. The science of child development is so new, and constantly changing, and its work to try and stay current.

      Baby D once acted dismissive about parenting as a job. So I told him no screen time until he calculated how much a part-time teacher, nurse, nanny, cook, chauffeur, psychologist, youth sports coach, laundress, school librarian, and social coordinator would make every year. When he discovered it was $200-$300k, he exclaimed, “Why would anyone be a parent for free?!”

      I expect I will have no grandchildren, LOL.

      Thank you for all the nice comments about my writing. And yes, it is a YA Fantasy!

  6. Well. said. I read that article about how a Dad learned to braid his daughter’s hair and I snarled. Well ain’t that so special? Let’s have a parade for the guy. Maybe next week he’ll learn how to use a scrunchie…

  7. Wait, so Father’s Day is actually something that exists because of politicians? I was convinced it was invented by malls and shops who wanted another excuse to force people to buy gifts… (Same as Mother’s Day…)

  8. So agree with you. Patriarchy is everywhere and dominates, and that doesn’t seem like it will be going away anytime soon. It’s good Andy helps around with household chores. I hope Surgeon Sis wasn’t too insulted that the other parents thought she was dead. Generally speaking, women and moms do so much and don’t demand recognition for it, and so long as men try the slightest, they get recognition.

    As per the comments above, yes, please keep us posted if your book sees the light of day 😀

    1. Surgeon Sis is both a little rueful and maybe a little proud when she tells the story of being deemed “dead” by other mothers. She’s at least making folks rethink their stereotypes.

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