On the whole my friends and family would describe me as laid back, chilled, low maintenance, sensible, but if you want to get me jumping on my soap box in a heartbeat then there are a few things that will do this: incompetence in all its forms, people on motorbikes wearing shorts, not immunising your kids and the most recent addition, the phrase ‘daddy day care’.
Maybe we need to blame Hollywood for first introducing this phrase into our consciousness with the film, ‘Daddy Day Care’, which on the whole, isn’t a bad film. But what does the phrase ‘daddy day care’ actually mean?
That daddies only do day care and not night care? Like that’s reserved solely for mummies. When does the day start? When the sun comes up or when the first cry from the next room is heard?
‘Daddy day care’ makes me feel like men think they are doing us a favour, as though the responsibility of parenting isn’t theirs as much as it is ours.
We feel that we have to check if it’s okay to go out with the girls or to the gym or just to have a wee by ourselves, while they often assume it’s okay to go out without a second thought for us and the babies at home.
The idea that daddies are doing us a favour makes my blood boil. You can’t babysit your own children!
As a child growing up, my parents both worked shifts, so they shared all the household responsibilities; food shopping, walking the dog, cooking dinner, drop-offs and pick-ups, bath time. There was no distinction between mummy care and daddy care. My parents were just there and they both did it all, no questions asked.
So why now in the 21st century, when we are supposed to be highly civilised people, do we continue to demean each other?
As mums and MOLOs, we label ourselves and each other as full-time mum, stay-at-home mum, housewife, domestic goddess – all phrases which make someone else feel less valuable than they are. I am a single mother, working full-time as a nurse, and I can’t cook to save my life. Am I a part-time mummy, house loner or domestic failure? No wonder guys jump on the band-wagon.
‘Daddy day care’ plays down the important role that men do caring for and raising their children to be decent human beings. It puts down the important work that women do in their jobs as doctors, solicitors, teachers, social workers, child minders and mothers, and all the hard work we have done to get there. But most of all, it maintains that parenting in all its forms still isn’t equal, and it’s about time that it was.
About Fiona Holter
Fiona is a single mother to a 2 and a half year old daughter. She works full time as a nurse. She says ‘middle child syndrome’ is a real thing, and as a shift worker chocolate should be consumed at any time of the day.