I woke up this morning to see these thoughts from a friend of mine who is a school librarian.  What are your thoughts on teaching children respect?

Yesterday I had a conversation with a kiddo that led to some rather profound realizations. The child was frustrated because he’d gotten in trouble for disrespect. When I asked him about it, he said that he wasn’t aware he was being disrespectful. Further questioning led to him providing the following definition: Respect is treating others the way you want to be treated.

Sounds good, right? Except in this case, that led to the kid getting in trouble. He is a kiddo that wants to be able to joke around, not be taken too seriously, and have a rapport with someone that leads to banter. It’s the kiddo who, when asked to write similes, will write, “Mrs. A is as old as dirt,” or “My teacher is as mean as a starving T-rex.” These comments aren’t meant to be taken personally, and are his way of saying, “Hey, I like you as a person.” The problem is, not everyone is okay with those comments, and to the wrong adult, things like that come across as disrespectful.

That’s about when it occurred to me: We tell kids to be respectful, but we often forget to tell them two things: 1. What does respect look like to me? and 2. Respect looks different for each person, so you need to determine what their definition is very early on in your interactions with them.

I see a lot of posts complaining about kids these days not having respect. The thing is, they do have a lot of respect. It just LOOKS different. Just because a kid doesn’t meet your definition, doesn’t mean that they’re being disrespectful. As teachers, we’re told to reteach when a child has a behavior problem. I think, at least as far as respect is concerned, I will REDEFINE instead.

–Caroline Burkhart Askew

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Viral Hives and a Healing Oatmeal Bath

Little Cricket has had an awful virus.  It started with not sleeping.  Then came croup.  Then fever.  Then a runny nose.  And finally, hives.

Until now, I had no idea that hives could be associated with a virus, but according to the book the pediatrician gave us, it’s not uncommon.  Hives aren’t just an allergy thing.

Poor kiddo looked like she’d been in a fight with a poison ivy plant.  Her face was swollen, and they always seemed to flare up the worst at nap and bedtime.  Benadryl didn’t help and neither did the cortisone cream that the doctor suggested.

Cricket does not like feeling itchy all the time.
Cricket does not like feeling itchy all the time.

So I did what any good mom in 2013 does.  I posted on Facebook.  Right away, several of my allergy-suffering friends suggested oatmeal baths.  Of course!  I had completely forgotten about those!  But when I had an itchy skin reaction to a sunburn as a kid, those little packets were the only thing that provided relief.

But do you do when you don’t have the little packets?  Easy! If you’ve got oatmeal in the pantry, you’re in business.

I tied it all up into an old stocking and soaked it in the tub.  The result was a soothing, milky, nourishing bath and one happy toddler.  The stocking made a great washcloth to sponge the oatmeal and coconut oil over her body, although when it was floating around in the tub, it really creeped Cricket out for some reason.  Unless I was actively sponging, she wanted that thing out of the water and safely perched on the edge of the tub where she could keep an eye on it.

The super creepy oatmeal stocking
The super creepy oatmeal stocking

In the end, the oatmeal bath did wonders for her itchiness.  It gave her relief until the hives could disappear on her own later that evening, and in the end, that is just what I hoped for.

Ultra Healing Oatmeal Bath

  • 1 Cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut oil (extra virgin is preferred, but I’m having trouble finding that here in the Midwest, so I used refined this day)
  • 1 stocking or sock or other container to hold the ingredients

Grind the oats into a very fine powder, and pour it into your stocking.  I used a canning funnel to make it easier to get everything in without spilling everywhere.  Add in the dollop of coconut oil on top of the ground oats and immediately toss into the tub.  Let it soak for a few minutes until the water is milky.  Then add the cranky toddler and watch the magic happen.

Swishing and squeezing the stocking helps mix more of the oaty/oily goodness into the water.  As an added bonus, lots of sponging and handling the stocking gave me very smooth hands, a relief from the dry winter skin that I’ve started having.

 

The only drawback to this bath is the gnarly oat residue and the ring it leaves around the tub.  It was fairly easy to clean, though, since I keep one of those soap dispensing scrubbers in my bathroom with a soap/vinegar mix anyway.  I just grabbed that, swished around the ring and the bottom of the tub, gave it a quick rinse, and I was done.

I hope this recipe brings relief to you all like it did for us!

Guest Post: This Year Pinterest Is Going to Make Me a Better Person

P1040069_2Liz is taking a leave of absence from public education to care for her 18 month old and emotionally needy border collie. Before Liz stayed home, she taught every grade from Kindergarten to 8th, but loved middle school because that is where the real changes in life happen.  When she was working, her husband cared for their daughter and then he worked afternoons and nights. Being a mom to her daughter is the best job she has ever had.  Previously, Liz wrote the article Guest Post: Misconceptions about Motherhood.

I don’t remember how exactly I discovered Pinterest, but apparently it was at the same time that everyone else did, too. Even my own mother was telling me about things she was pinning. When I was teaching, I used it to keep track of all my summer and late night research. Then I gradually moved out of the education realm and into pinning things like recipes and garden projects. I just love the internet!

Since I have recently (in the past two weeks) become a Stay At Home Mom, I feel it is my duty to compete with all the awesomeness out there. There’s no awards for being a Stay At Home Mom and I am intensely competitive with myself. Of course there’s no need to go crazy here. I’ll never earn the title super mom and I don’t want it.

Figuring out this mom thing is actually kind of hard. Teaching middle school is sometimes easier believe it or not. I need some kind of structure in my day, which is why I’ve pinned all kinds of calendars and organizational ideas. There’s some great ideas on there. I’m already pinning and planning activities to do with my daughter. Her board alone has 124 pins! Where to start? A tractor made out of cardboard? Reading chairs made from inner tubes? Or a bunch of busy bags to make and toss in the diaper bag? I’ve got about 20 pins with lists of things to do with your toddler. Does that make me a good mother? Someday I’ll have time to read those.

The downside to Pinterest is it is a time sucking, black hole. There’s so many interesting things out there. So many people to follow, so many neat ideas. I’ve got 21 boards and 986 pins and I have tried to keep it down, believe me! If I do one thing a day, it will take me about three years. Of course I keep pinning so there could be no end to this.

I can do yoga with my daughter, that is assuming she stops running around in circles long enough to get downward facing dog with me. I can paint a chapter of a book on a wall, reorganize my pantry (wait, I don’t have a pantry), and make three months worth of freezer meals. I’m out of breath; the whole thing makes me a little manic.

I’ve got to get that kitchen herb garden going and start some seeds in toilet paper roles because it’s biodegradable. So far I’ve saved 4 toilet paper rolls and they are sitting on my soon to be organized desk. Perhaps my husband won’t mind if I build some inexpensive shelves in front of the kitchen window to hold all these plants. Ooh… I can plant tulip bulbs in water and we can watch them grow every day! There’s so much to do and so little time!

Breathe. . . .

Let it go . . . .

It’s just a bunch of pretty pictures and ideas on the internet. I’ll take it slow, one recipe and idea at a time, and if I don’t do all of it or any of it, it doesn’t make me any less of a person. One night I got extra creative and made beef and broccoli in the crockpot and Ramen, from scratch. That’s right, I even made the dough and rolled out the noodles.
Recipe thanks to Katie at the Kitchen Door: http://katieatthekitchendoor.com/2012/10/28/cookbook-review-and-giveaway-japanese-farm-food/

This year I’m going to be a better person. I’ll learn to cook, start composting, improve my garden, and find all kinds of ways to entertain and teach my toddler. Just as soon as I get organized.

English: Red Pinterest logo

Guest Post: Misconceptions about Motherhood

P1040069_2Liz is taking a leave of absence from public education to care for her 18 month old and emotionally needy border collie. Before Liz stayed home, she taught every grade from Kindergarten to 8th, but loved middle school because that is where the real changes in life happen.  When she was working, her husband cared for their daughter and then he worked afternoons and nights. Being a mom to her daughter is the best job she has ever had.

I thought having a baby would be easy, like having another dog. I know, don’t laugh at me. I assumed I would feed it and it would sleep, or that I would be able to sit and write while my baby would play on the floor by my feet. Ha Ha Ha. Right now I have to decide if I take this moment of peace while she plays with her shoes to pee or start writing this blog. write while my baby would play on the floor by my feet. Ha Ha Ha.

Right now I have to decide if I take this moment of peace while she plays with her shoes to pee or start writing this blog. Keep in mind that I went back to work at 8 weeks, but I definitely did not have any idea of how much a baby would need me, it’s mother.

The purpose of this blog is not to scare people, but to tell the honest truth so people can have some idea of what they are getting into so they can schedule their lives. My husband always jokes, “You mean it’s not as simple as the new parenting videos make it out to be?”

In the beginning:
A few months before my baby was born, a friend told me that nursing was a part time job. I didn’t really believe it. But no, she is right. A new baby needs to nurse every two to three hours, and sometimes will want more, especially during growth spurts, every four, six and eight weeks. A new baby nurses 10-12 times a day; this is important because it establishes milk supply. During this time I watched a lot of Gilmore Girls. Some people read. Learning to sideways nurse helped a lot because then I could sort of sleep.

The first eight weeks are hard, very hard for someone who isn’t used to sitting down. I had to tell myself that the time would pass and it sure did. It seems like only yesterday I was holding her on a breastfeeding pillow.

A new baby wants to be held, a lot. I assumed that I would nurse the baby and put it to sleep in it’s bed. I learned that that moment between sleep and awake is a fragile moment to a baby, and that they cry. A lot.

I also learned that the best way to maintain my sanity was to wear her on me in either a sling or a wrap; my Moby Wrap and I became great friends because I could have my hands free.

We also danced a lot and bounced on a yoga ball because babies have gas, lots of it. The first eight weeks we nursed, I burped her after each feeding, sometimes we nursed again, we went for walks with her in the Moby, I tried to nap during the day as I was used to getting more than five hours of sleep at a time (a record for new moms actually), she would fall asleep on me or in the Moby and I would have a few moments to relax before it all started up again.

Motherhood is hard. No one tells you that. Sometimes we assume that they will be like little dolls that we can just give a bottle or pacifier and all will be alright. That’s certainly a fantasy world. My child had no interest in a pacifier, which turned out to be a good thing because now I don’t have to figure out how to take it away from her.

Now I went back to work at 8 weeks and I pumped at work. When I came home I still had all the usual chores like shopping, laundry, pulling weeds, cooking and cleaning etc. For getting these things done, I found my Ergo and sling to be indispensable because I could wear her and be close to her and not feel like I was away from her too much. Every day when I got home if it was still light out, I either put her in the Moby or Ergo and we walked, my favorite part of the day. She was happiest when she was involved and up close by me because I could talk to her, sing to her, and she could look at me and feel me.

When she got older and could sit up on her own, I put her in our Bob stroller and we went for longer walks. Of course I also brought a carrier and kept it underneath after learning that pushing a stroller and holding a sad baby is not a fun thing to do.

When she was nine months old I took some time off work, but that month my baby, who crawled at six months, started walking. Before she was born, I assumed there would be so much down time, time to do other things like I used to always. I didn’t count on all the time it takes to dress a baby, comfort and nurse a baby, bathe a baby, and then when baby was eating food, clean up the food that ended up on the ground and in baby’s hair etc. What I’m getting at is that life is different. So different. But so good! I wouldn’t trade a moment of this because watching her grow is the most fascinating thing I have ever seen.

The great thing about babies is that they are portable and travel well. When she was 4 months, we took her to Washington DC and the Smithsonian. From 10 days to 9 months, she spent quite a lot of time traveling to San Diego to visit family and also went camping a few times. At 10-11 months, we took a three week road trip up to Washington. A few weeks shy of her first birthday, we went to Hawaii. Since then she has been camping in Sequoia and has also flown to Michigan. Having a baby changes life, but she’s just a little person who can enjoy the adventure, too.

In the time that I wrote this blog (a little over an hour), I have also stopped my now 18 month old from taking my books off the shelf, have read her a book about South African animals (she picked it!), taken out the ice packs from the freezer because she wanted them (I don’t know why), watched her climb in and out of our Bob stroller and play with the buckle while putting on and off a hat and putting a hat on a ratty dog toy. She has worked on a puzzle, gotten frustrated with the puzzle and crawled on my lap because she wanted to type. I have taken her to sit on the potty and we read her farm book four times. I just left her in her room after we played with her farm animals for a minute, but now I hear her taking out her books. Things change a lot between 8 weeks and 18 months. Now excuse me, I’m being handed a Dr. Seuss book. Time for me to exercise my oscar winning actress skills on my rendition of Oh the Things You Can Think.

Links: Pumping at work: http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/pumping/what-to-expect-when-pumping/

The first week: http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/newborn-nursing/

Nursing: http://kellymom.com/ages/newborn/bf-basics/latch-resources/

breastfriend pillow: http://www.mybrestfriend.com

carriers: http://www.thebabywearer.com

Being a Working Mom and Missing Milestones

Working full time and being a mommy is so difficult.  I feel like I am constantly missing out on the Grasshopper and Cricket’s lives.  A few weeks ago, their teacher, who is also a dear friend of mine, texted me:

Cricket just rolled over!!!!

I knew it was on its way.  She was so close to doing it the night before.  My husband, the Grasshopper, and I were all watching her so carefully so that none of us would miss it when she finally did roll.  But she rolled over for the first time at school.  And I missed it.

I was so sad.  I sat at my desk and cried.  I couldn’t believe I missed it.  I felt so sorry for myself.  Why?  Why do I have to work?  It’s not fair.

It’s so hard being away from my girls.  In the beginning, it was intensely painful.  Walking away from Cricket on that first day back was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  It felt wrong to me.  I was her mother.  I was supposed to be with her all the time.  I had spent nine months holding her in my womb and then three more months holding her in my arms.  It hurt so much to give her to someone else and let the door close behind me.

I grieved in those first few weeks.  Every instinct in my body was telling me to be with my baby and I couldn’t do it.  I cried so much.  I felt angry and sad and lost.  Looking back, I can see that I was going through the stages of grief.  Recognizing that made me feel even more angry.  A mother shouldn’t have to grieve.  A mother shouldn’t have to feel that sense of loss.  A mother shouldn’t have to leave her children to go to work before she’s ready.

In this country, we do not support mothers enough.  We do not provide adequate maternity leave.  Mothers suffer what I have gone through (twice!) every single day.

I have a dear friend who is working on changing that.  She’s at the front of a revolution.  Please read her blog to find out what we can all do to be a part of this revolution:  Mother Revolution.

They are also doing great things at MomsRising.org.  They do a great job of keeping an eye on upcoming legislation and providing concrete ways to get involved.

This past weekend, I was so blessed.  Little Miss Cricket had a developmental explosion!  She started rolling front to back, she started babbling, she found her toes, and on the train back from San Diego she popped out a brand new tooth!  I felt so thankful that I got to share those moments with her.

But a part of me is still raging inside.  That’s not something one should have to feel grateful about.  A mother should be able to be with her baby if she wants to.

Please join the revolution.

Cultivating Gratitude with a Newborn

In honor of one of my friends who will be having her baby any day now, I thought it might be nice to pull together some of the thoughts I’ve been mulling over on different things that have made transitioning to motherhood easier for me.  I hope this is helpful, not only to her, but to my other mommy friends and readers.

Cultivate Gratitude. I don’t mean thanking your adult friends for helping you.  This goes without saying.  I mean cultivating gratitude toward your baby.  It can be so hard when you’ve been up all night, you’re tired, you’re hungry, and you just can’t find a spare second to yourself.  I found myself, with the Grasshopper, focusing on what I wasn’t able to do during the day.  I wasn’t able to eat breakfast.  I didn’t have time to go to the store. I didn’t get a nap. And on and on and on.

I found myself struggling emotionally with how I could manage everything.  I felt like my ability to have a life of my own was slipping away.  I became frustrated and occasionally resentful.  I felt overwhelmed.

But the Grasshopper was patient with me.  That’s the thing about babies.  They are so forgiving.  They won’t stop loving you if you mess up.  They won’t say, “I told you so.”  They won’t hold your mistakes over your head.

She taught me that it wasn’t so important to be perfect.  She taught me to appreciate each moment.  Her patience and joy and love helped me to grow into the mother I am today.

With Cricket, I was able to find something different within myself right away.  Instead of focusing on what I didn’t get to do during the day, I found myself feeling grateful for what I was able to do.  I thanked her every day for letting me take a shower, for letting me eat breakfast, for napping while I drove, for letting me suction her nose without a fuss, for putting her legs down while I changed her diaper, and on and on and on.  It’s amazing how powerful those two words can be.

Try it.  Say those words.  Say them out loud.  Say them when you’re frustrated.  When you’re in the shower and you’ve only just soaped your hair and your baby starts to cry and you know you won’t have time to do anything else except rinse the bubbles and dry off.  Say, “Thank you baby for giving me the time to wash my hair.”  Take a deep breath and let the rest go.  It makes a huge difference.

I am finding gratitude in all parts of my life.  I’m digging deep when my bouncy four year old knocks something off the table.

Thank you Grasshopper.  Thank you for your joy and energy.

I’m finding it when my husband is stressed and grouchy from work.  Thank you Mr. Grasshopper for keeping a roof over our heads.

This gratitude helps me get through my day.

So my advice to new moms is this: Don’t focus on what you didn’t accomplish.  Thank your babies for the small things.  The small moments.  The time to eat a snack or use the restroom or shave your legs.  Find joy in the little things.

And to my daughters?  Thank you.  Thank you both.  Thank you for your patience and your unwavering love.  Thank you for teaching me to be a better person.  You are my two blessings, and I give thanks for you every day.

Setting the bar too high for nursing moms

With everything that Cricket and I have been through so far on our nursing journey, I’ve been thinking about what all we (and by we I don’t mean me, I mean society) ask of breastfeeding moms.  This particular line of thought was sparked by a conversation with a cranial osteopath who was seeing Cricket to help her with her jaw muscles.  He grilled me a bit about my diet, and I felt ashamed to tell him that I’m just so thrilled about being able to eat again that I am just eating whatever I can get my hands on.  Lots of meat, cheese, spices, Indian food, Thai food, Mexican, etc.  I was embarrassed to admit that we don’t always eat home cooked meals.  In fact, we eat out fairly frequently.

This confession of mine earned me a lecture on healthy eating.  I should eat only organic food.  Whole grains.  Home cooked.  Gluten free.  And while I’m at it, I should stop eating dairy and soy because that’s probably why Cricket has a stuffy nose.  What I eat goes directly to her, didn’t I know, so I must avoid foods with chemicals of any kind and by the way, I should only eat brown rice, not white rice.  Scratch that, don’t eat rice at all because of the gluten in it. Does rice even have gluten? I don’t know.

I left the appointment feeling guilty, overwhelmed, and exhausted.  The more I thought about his speech to me, though, the more irritated I got.  Aside from any rare allergy issues in kids (where there are very specific and dramatic clinical signs) milk is milk.  Milk is not made from stomach contents.  You don’t go to the drive through and then have cheeseburgers coming out of your nipples.  Unless the situation is one of extreme famine, a mother’s milk will always be rich enough, nutritious enough, and wonderful enough.

I kept turning this over and over in my head and getting madder.  If I was another woman, one who wasn’t as plugged in to breastfeeding resources, I might have walked away from that conversation believing that since I couldn’t live up to this doctor’s impossibly high standards, my child would be better off on formula.

I experienced this kind of situation again following Cricket’s tongue tie clip.  First I had to get her clipped by a very specific doctor out in L.A.  Then I was supposed to see a very specific lactation consultant (also in L.A.) to retrain her to latch.  On top of that, I needed to get her in to see a cranial osteopath to get her jaw muscles working properly.  Follow that up by special exercises and speech therapy, and you’ve got one seriously overwhelmed mama.  How many specialists do I need to take my kid to?  Can’t we just nurse?

Confession: I took her to LA for the clip, but I stuck with local lactation consultants to help with the latch.  I only saw the cranial osteopath three times instead of the recommended five visits because darn it, it’s expensive and I don’t really dig it anyway.  I haven’t been doing the exercises very religiously.  We probably won’t do speech therapy at all unless we find out that she actually has a speech issue.  Her sister didn’t.  Her father and I didn’t.  If she does, we’ll deal with it, but I’m not prepared to assume that she will.

Want to know something else?  I eat fast food sometimes.  Sometimes I even feed my family fast food.  I don’t always cook.  I do my best, but some nights, it just doesn’t happen.  I take ibuprofen when I have a headache.  And I cook with butter.  So there.

There is so much pressure for breastfeeding moms to be perfect.  Setting the bar so high can ultimately drive women away from breastfeeding, and it’s critical that we not do that.

So nursing moms–all moms for that matter–Be good to yourselves.  You’re not perfect and that’s okay.

Afraid of the Dark

The Grasshopper is suddenly afraid of the dark.  Very afraid.

She has been sleeping on her own in her room for almost a year, but suddenly, when it comes time for me to kiss her goodnight, it’s meltdown city.  She also will not go into her room alone to choose her clothes.  Or to the bathroom alone.  Or anywhere alone.  She would rather stand there and pee in her pants* than click on the hall light, click on the bathroom light, and use the toilet.  At 3 in the afternoon.  (*We assume she would pee in her pants.  We’re not willing to humiliate her by putting that to the test.  She’s insistent enough that I’m certain it would end with a puddle on the floor if one of us didn’t intervene.)

Clearly this is not about the dark.

I talked to her about it last night, and, from what I gathered, she is missing some of the attention that we are having to give Cricket.  She feels sad that Cricket is with us all the time while she has to do things on her own more.  Poor kid.  I never lived with a sibling.  I have no idea what she must be going through.

We tried adding more night lights.  No dice.  We tried keeping her door open.  Didn’t work.

But I think we might have finally hit on a solution.

We have a very sweet boxer dog named China (pronounced “Chee-nah”.  She’s nearing old age at 8 years old, and as a working breed dog, she’s needed a job for a long time.  Well, we may have finally found one for her: watching over the Grasshopper.

The trouble is, she’s been trained for so long that she’s not supposed to hang out in the Grasshopper’s room.  She’s unbelievably loving and patient, but you don’t leave a dog with a baby.  Period.

Last night, though, she got the surprise of her life when the Grasshopper and I invited her into bed.  Poor China was confused.  It took a few tries to convince her that she was allowed to stay in the bed with the Grasshopper.  And in the middle of the night, she did her usual pace through the house to check up on things elsewhere.  But overall, I think we’re onto something good here!

I think I will do something special for the both of them and find China a pretty new bed that we can place in the Grasshopper’s room for her to sleep on.  She doesn’t always like to sleep with people.  She gets hot sometimes and just wants her space.

Maybe this new found friendship will be good for both of them.  Goodness knows, China’s been unemployed for far too long.

In Defense of Dads

I’ve been thinking about how dads get treated in the media.

If we believed what we see on TV, we’d know that dads are at best incompetent buffoons and at worst maliciously lazy.

Have a look at the EvenFlo ad called “How To Survive 3 AM Feedings.”  It is so bad that I actually had to try a few times to get through it.  I just kept getting angry and having to turn it off.

Aside from the various breastfeeding myths that this video promotes (which I won’t get into in this post), Jack, the dad in this series, not only manages to spill his wife’s hard-won breastmilk all over the counter in the very finest traditions of as-seen-on-TV incompetence* but he actually leaves it all out for his wife to clean up.  Then, he ignores the crying baby who has very briefly settled and sneaks back into bed pretending that he’s already fed the baby.  His wife is woken up a few seconds later to the cries of the still hungry baby and he informs her that it’s her turn.

*You know, like the folks that can’t get the toothpaste on the toothbrush without the automatic toothpaste dispenser for only $19.99?

Here’s another goldie from EvenFlo called “Repair Your Husband’s Bruised Ego.”

Apparently, according to the commercial, it’s better to preserve a man’s ego by allowing him to install a carseat incorrectly (it should be rear-facing for a child that age) rather than going ahead and asking for help from carseat installation experts.  Something about penis size I think.

Now it’s not just EvenFlo putting out commercials with idiot dads.

Here’s one from AT&T.  At the end, the dad tries to put the diaper on the baby’s head.  Really?

Here’s a huggies one with another dad who can’t seem to change a diaper:

The list goes on and on and on.  Start looking for it as you watch TV.  You will notice it particularly with kid/baby products and cleaning supplies.

“Aw, geez, Molly.  It’s just a joke.  Can’t you take a joke?”

Well, yeah.  I can take a joke.  I like jokes.  I laugh at jokes.  But quite honestly, when “just a joke” marginalizes an entire segment of the population, I just don’t find it particularly funny.  And these ads do marginalize dads.  These ads tell parents that it’s okay for Dad to be an idiot.  It’s okay for him to be the butt of the jokes.  Who cares if he can’t change a diaper?  Mom will swoop in and do it better anyway (and often with a condescending leer).

This just isn’t fair.  Dads deserve better.  They deserve for companies to treat them as equal partners in raising their children.  More and more dads are becoming stay-at-home dads.  Dads cook.  Dads clean.  Dads do laundry.

Moms deserve better, too.  This played out joke gives permission to some men to behave in incompetent and maliciously lazy ways.  It reinforces the notion that the mom is the primary parent and the dad is just window dressing.  It leaves her with the brunt of the child-rearing, and in families where both parents work full-time, this kind of pressure can push moms past their breaking point.

It’s not fair to dads, moms, or kids.

So advertising companies, please.  I’m begging you.  Let this tired joke die.  It’s old.  It’s played out.  Let’s show some commercials with the kinds of dads I’m familiar with: dads who are actively engaged in their childrens’ lives, who are intelligent, who carry an equal share of the housekeeping responsibilities, and who partner equally with their wives to keep the family together.  Let’s leave off with the stupid and lazy stereotype.  We all deserve better.