This post first appeared on Urban Parent Halifax on Tuesday August 19th which is a great source for all things parenting here in Halifax NS
Without fail every week if not more often I will check my normal social networks and I will come across a post, meme, video or blog dragging out the tired image or the poor bumbling helpless dad. Most times I just roll my eyes and keep on scrolling. But sometimes I really have to shake my head as I wonder why the person shared what they did.
Often times they are calling out their own spouse in a very public manner for trying to do something that was unfamiliar to them. I rarely see the humour in the faceflogging that takes place with person after person chiming in to say how funny this failure is. It’s like my whole social network channels their inner Nelson Muntz.
If you are considering posting something about how your silly, well meaning, but ultimately failure of a spouse messed up I would like you to consider 3 questions;
- Was it one of their normal responsibilities?
In my house I am the primary cook and I am the primary grocery shopper. We do this because I enjoy cooking more than my wife does and I normally have Fridays off work to do the shopping.
My wife is a smart and capable person. We got married while we were both still in university. Because of that she never had to get used to cooking and grocery shopping for anything beyond college living.
Once shortly after we were married she did the grocery shopping for a change. To my surprise she bought a rather large package of ground pork. When I asked why she legitimately had no idea that she hadn’t bought the ground beef I asked for. To me the products look completely different. But since she didn’t normally do the grocery shopping and never handles raw meat she simply saw a package of ground meat and tossed it into the cart.
It is easy to make simple mistakes when doing something unfamiliar.
- How much experience do they have?
When we get good at something it is easy to forget how hard it was at first, sort of like driving. Think back to those first few times behind the wheel. It was so nerve wracking! It took so much focus and attention. But now you jump in the car and barely give what you are doing any thought at all.
One of the things I think you should never make fun of a dad for trying to do is putting their daughter’s hair in a ponytail. Of course some of us as asking for it.
Mom’s I don’t think you take time to consider how much more experience you have compared to the average dad. Before you had a daughter that needed her hair put up how many ponytails did you make in your own hair? How about in someone else’s hair, like for someone you used to babysit?
I don’t know about you, but before I had a daughter that needed her hair put up I know exactly how many ponytails I tried before, zero, zip, zilch. Don’t even get me started about braids. I am still not great at putting in a ponytail, but I am learning. It takes skill to figure out how to gather up all the hair, hold it properly in one hand and twirl elastic with another.
It is easy to forget how hard something is when you get used to doing it.
- Do you want them to try again?
Do you remember the time when you were learning to ride your bike and you fell off, and your parents laughed and laughed at you? Than they called over all their friends to point and laugh at the poor crumpled heap you were on the ground. No? That’s probably because they wanted you to succeed and they realized ridiculing your failure wasn’t likely a great motivator.
The same people I see making fun of their partners for trying tend to be the ones that complain that their partners don’t help out around the house/in the kitchen/with the kids enough. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t make fun of them every time they try and expect them to be ready to jump up to help.
You can make fun of the failures or you can encourage their effort. You likely can’t do both.
I don’t want to sound like a kill joy. It is a good thing to be able to laugh at our mistakes. But it isn’t funny to be laughed at because of them. Maybe instead of making fun for dads who are trying you could consider posting a picture of a grumpy cat. That guy always cracks me up.
Oh my goodness, yes!
A thousand times. Yes!
We get so irritated by the “dumb dad” stereotype in ads on TV. My husband is so smart! Farthest thing from that idiotic twit advertisers keep forcing on us.
Don’t even get me started on the whining spouses. My first thought is always the same. Have you told him (or her) about your beef or are you hoping it’ll just get back to him (or her) via your five hundred “friends”?
Grr! That makes *me* grumpy!
Exactly! Thanks for this, Christopher. So many times I’ve seen the opposite be true. I always *try* to keep in mind what it felt like to do something new that I am now good at. Or was good at as the case may be. Just a couple of examples: When I was still working for DQ it was not uncommon for me to be given the new crew members to show them how to do this, that or the other thing. Or fellow crew who were learning a new skill, such as one of the grill guys wanting to learn how to work the cash. It struck me as odd, until I realized that I was remembering what it felt like to feel as if I were “too stupid to live,” and living the old “do unto others” idea. When I was still allowed to lift weights a young (ger) guy wanted me to show him the ropes. So I did…Back in the day, when I started–relatively late at that–Sean, Wayne, and Dennis were so incredibly patient with me. At one point I really wasn’t getting what Wayne/Dennis was trying to teach me until they actually manipulated my limb through the particular excersize! Indeed, I remember Sean picking me up off of the floor more than once when I neglected to “guard my face” properly during his attempts to teach me the sweet science of boxing. Ask me about that sometime; it really is a hilarious story! Now. :)- Sure, the fails may indeed be hilarious, but I’ve always tried to roll on the floor in private…we remember how it feels, after all. Anyway, thanks again. More people need to remember this. ~Aron <
Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2014 13:17:20 +0000 To: email@example.com
It is always hard to remember what doing something was like for the first time, and always helpful to try. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.