I was talking to someone the other day who I hadn’t seen in awhile. He asked if I was “still doing the Mr. Mom thing.” I understand that I can’t expect him (or his older generation for that matter) to understand how difficult it was for me not to shout “DON’T CALL ME MR. MOM!” But just as I pat myself on the back for withholding my disdain for that particular statement, he said something else, “So, you’re really using that college degree, huh?”
I hadn’t given his statement that much thought at the time. I just continued the conversation, and we went our separate ways. My wife later said to me, “I can’t believe he said that.” I thought she was talking about “Mr. Mom” because she knows how much I hate the phrase. “No,” she said, “About you going to college.” She was right. I didn’t even stop to think about how much of a double standard that really is. I was so upset about his repeated use of the “Mr. Mom” phrase that I totally missed what might be an even bigger put down.
Our country spends millions of dollars a year to market science and mathematics to young girls so that they stay interested and pursue careers which require advanced degrees. If a woman gets a college degree, she is praised for her ambition. If she later decides to stay at home with her children, nobody questions her choice to get a degree. It makes her better educated person, which, presumably, adds to what she has to offer as a mother. Her choice to get a college degree is viewed as a good choice, even if she later decides to stay at home. So why, then is my choice to get a college degree all of a sudden a bad choice because I decided to stay at home?
I think that this is where negative stereotype of “idiot dad” comes into play. Our culture does not expect very much of fathers; therefore, when one spends money on an education just to stay at home, it is seen as a waste. We are not supposed to have anything to offer our children anyway.
I am happy that this just isn’t true. I believe that any education is valuable, and we should aim to pass along that knowledge to our children. All degrees earned by mothers AND fathers are valuable to the future success of that family, whether it increases their potential income levels, their ability to help with homework, or even their ability to teach their children how to be better students.
What other double standards are out there? I know that there are a lot toward moms, but what about others that are directed at fathers? Why do you think this double standard exists?