Hey, Lady. I do know what I’m doing here! – An open letter.


you have the very best intentions in the world, no doubt. But you don’t know the full story here; for the last ten minutes we’ve been playing the ‘throw the soft toy away so that Dada has to pick it up’ game.. and I’m done with that. Since very early on, we’ve enforced a rule of ‘you throw it, you lose it’ – simple enough discipline, and a good lesson in cause and effect.

So reaching past me into my supermarket trolly to hand the little divil back her many-times-discarded dolly is not cool. I know she was whinging for it, I’m right here and could hear her – but rules is rules everywhere.

Besides the fact that in a matter of seconds dolly is surely going to end up flung again towards the freezer section, you doing that completely undermines my authority to my daughter and I’m sorry but I had to say as much. Not that it mattered to you, you just blanked me anyway, focussing entirely on the baby blues and golden curls that adorn our ruthless doll-chucker.

I can’t help but think that you wouldn’t have done that if I’d been a woman. Instead you would more likely have caught my eye with a knowing, sympathetic glance and a telepathic ‘I’ve been there’. But your assumption, and this happens all the time, is that I’m just a stand-in. I’m a clueless bloke whose chromosomes prevent him from being capable of looking after a child.

So, however unconsciously, it seemed like the right thing for you to ignore me, the parent, and indulge my toddler’s wilfulness – perhaps you’d like to come over and have a go at brushing her teeth??!! Then we’d see who’s so fecking cute!

The problem is this; an assumption of capability (or the lack of it) that’s defined by stereotypical gender roles – Man make fire, woman make babies, Ug Ug. For my own part, I’ve tried in other circumstances, not to assume that my gender makes me more competent or capable. However hard it was, I’ve not intervened, mansplained, or usurped on tasks for which I might be thought more physically able. Growing up with three sisters and having a famously kick-ass wife has helped, no doubt. So if I’m gonna try, perhaps you could too?

So hey, Lady. Why not try and afford me the same respect? I know I’m far from the perfect parent but I’m trying my damnedest here and despite what you may think, there IS a plan! If I mess up, then so be it. Let me do my job.


a parent who is parenting.
One Messy Mama

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  1. July 24, 2017

    How infuriating to be ignored! Dads are not stand-ins but you are right, so often people think of them that way. I hate when dads say “I’m babysitting the kids tonight.” That’s called parenting buddy. #GlobalBlogging

  2. July 24, 2017

    Sorry, I would have picked up the doll and handed it back too. Although possibly to you because if she ain’t looking after it, you can put it somewhere safe.. And I have thought I was helping. The Tubblet was terrible for taking her shoes and socks off – and would often spend winter with little cold, purple feet – and I was always back tracking to find where she’d dropped them. Socks I wasn’t bothered about, but shoes aren’t cheap!

    • Dada
      July 24, 2017

      You see, that would have been cool, Tubbs. But said lady actually reached past me, into my trolley, to hand it back while I was telling tiny terror that she wasn’t getting it back! Way to undermine me in front of my kid, eh?
      As for the shoes and socks, we’ve had that au naturale phase too, quite a pain. Though I’ve a niece who once disposed of her shoes out the window of a moving car, so adverse was she to being shod.
      Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

  3. I’ve had this happen to me before too and I’m a mum so maybe it wasn’t a gender thing, or maybe it was. Either way it was definitely wrong, I can’t stand it when people interfere like this, however well intentioned

  4. July 28, 2017

    That would really annoy me too. Thankfully I’ve never experienced anything like this, but I hate the fact that some people look at dads as incapable. They’re just as capable as mums. Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky

  5. July 29, 2017

    How wrong to be ignored stick to it mate your way great read Thank you for linking to #ThatFridayLinky Please come back next week

  6. July 29, 2017

    I agree. Wouldn’t have been done if you were a woman. There is a double standard in play.
    Not cool!

  7. July 29, 2017

    Ooh, how annoying! Seriously, how can that woman be so blatantly rude and disregard you, the parent? If she had sheepishly smiled and handed it to you and not the said gorgeous cutie pie then different story. I can’t handle it when people give you the stare when you discipline your child, and then comment or intervene. Makes me so angry! #globalblogging

  8. July 30, 2017

    Well meaning do-gooders who undermine any parent’s authority is so infuriating. It has happened to me on numerous occasions, from the lady who threw my sick child’s dummy away “because she will end up with a speech problem and buck teeth”, to the other end of the spectrum where people assume that because I’m a woman I don’t know how to mow the lawn or wire up the entertainment system whenever we move house … gender stereotyping is the worst.

  9. July 30, 2017

    We have four little girls and when my husband has them all he is treated so differently than me. He gets so pissed- like why are people praising me for having my OWN kids with me at the store! Thanks for linking up tp #globablogging

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