Raise your hand if you’ve ever been in a situation where your male partner receives an inordinate amount of praise for tasks you do all day, every day? Yep, lots of hands going up. Unfortunately, there are many incredibly unfair dual standards in parenting that still exist in 2022. And this illustrator’s comic perfectly highlights the hypocrisy.
Mary Catherine Starr is a Massachusetts-based artist, yoga teacher, and mama of two behind the Instagram account @momlife_comics. Recently, she posted a series of comics titled “An Illustrated Guide To The Double Standards Of Parenting” to point out the differences in the ways society views moms when they do something vs. dads when they do that same thing.
First up: fast food for dinner.
There is so much guilt and shame associated with picking up a bag of chicken nuggets and french fries for your little ones. The morality society places on different types of food is an enormous detriment to everyone in general, including moms. Sometimes we don’t feel like cooking. Sometimes our kids literally won’t eat anything else. Sometimes, we all just want fast food because it tastes delicious! But dads don’t face the same criticisms that moms do when they “resort” to happy meals.
Personally, I know I’ve been on the receiving end of some side-eye if I’ve been on my phone at the playground. But my husband, who is an equal partner to me in every way, often gets complimented anytime he’s out with our children solo.
What’s most frustrating about this double standard is how it can pit moms against dads—and who does that help, exactly?
While we’re raising our hands, toss one up if you’ve ever heard the term “working dad” with as much regularity as “working mom?”
“I’m tired of our society applauding dads for handling the most basic of parenting duties and expecting perfection from mothers,” Starr tells HuffPost.
There are many scenarios that come to mind in line with these comics. Like when I’m out without children, I’ve been told how “lucky” I am that my husband is “babysitting” my children. Also, my husband is often the one to put our kindergartener on the bus because that time aligns with his lunch hour and, well, he likes doing it. Because he’s her dad. But a relative of mine once remarked how “nice” it was that he was willing to do that when his work schedule is “busier” than mine.
These comments bother my husband as much as they bother me. And again, I ask, who do these comments help? Not my husband, and certainly not me.
“Moms are expected to stay home from work when their kids are sick, and dads aren’t,” Starr says. “And, in fact, often dads aren’t given the same flexibility that moms are given when their kids are sick. ”
While there is seemingly no limit to the ways gender-based, societal double standards are implemented in parenting, these brilliant comics do an excellent job of visually highlighting them for all to see (and hopefully learn from).
Here’s the changing the narrative with some fun products to get your point across.