File this one under woe is me.
Life is full of double standards. I remember when I was a little girl, there were things my dad would let my brothers do that I was not allowed to do. After all I was his precious daughter. Things like that make sense to me now. But the double standards I face today are so mind-boggling to me.
Beau and I are both awesome parents. There is no question about that. But the way we are treated in public when each of us takes the kids out, is astonishing to me. We are both educated adults who love our kids. Yet we get treated so differently in the eyes of many.
For example, when Beau is at the park with the kids, in his jeans and work boots, what do people think? I’ll tell you what they think. They think he’s Mr. Wonderful. Awe, would you look at that dad taking time out of his busy day to bring his kids to the park. His wife is clearly dead or such a raging alcoholic/pill- popper that the court awarded him custody in the divorce. I’m not impressed.
The same double standard applies at the store. I take four children to the store and people ask me to control them. They ask if I’ve ever heard of birth control. They ask if I have a television in my bedroom. They ask if they’re twins. Yes four twins, all born a year apart. It’s a special type of twin. Shh, don’t tell anyone. And my all time favorite, are they all yours? No, I pick up the neighbors kids and bring them with because it’s clearly such a God Damn joy. Suck it.
Now when Beau takes all four to the store, he’s met with smiles. Women ask if they can help him. Women have given him coupons because, as father of the year, he surely doesn’t have the time to clip them all by himself. People have even asked him where his wife is at. They say things like, you poor thing. You’re doing a great job! Those kids are lucky to have you!
Give me freaking break! I’ll tell you where I’m at. I’m at home. In bed. Hungover. Now mind your damn business.
Recently, Beau took our four kids and a few of their friends to a restaurant for lunch. Everyone was patting him on the back, falling all over themselves telling Beau what a great dad he was. The manager even slipped him a note. You heard me. Wrote him a note that said, “You’re doing a great job, Dad! There is a jumpy set up in the back if the kids want to play in it”.
I’ve never received a note. Ever. I get looks. But never a note. I have people come up to me and tell me how tired I look. Which has to be the worst thing anyone can ever say to you. Especially when you actually feel just fine that day. Dare I say, even pretty. But then someone tells you how tired you look. Um….thanks?
Why would someone say that? I look tired. You think I don’t know that? You think I don’t feel that? No one tells Beau he looks tired. They tell him how awesome he is and then give him a coupon for a free dessert so that he can be a hero to the entire human race and to the kids.
When I die, I can only hope to be reincarnated as a man.
But it’s not only the public that have this reaction. These double standards apply to our family as well. A few weeks ago when I hurt my back I got a lot of calls from worried relatives. But it turns out they were really worried about Beau.
A typical phone call would go like this… I heard you hurt your back. How is Beau holding up?
You poor thing, you must be in so much pain. How is everything going with Beau’s new contacts?
Mind you, a few years ago, Beau had almost the exact same back issue. While I was in the hospital birthing a child. I don’t remember anyone asking about my well being. As I was in the hospital giving birth. Did I mention that? Congrats on the baby. How’s Beau?
I’m lucky to have a public forum to address this issue. Beau is just fine. Beau is always fine. Beau will always be fine. I will just have to remain the wind beneath his wings.
Sometimes Beau leans over and whispers this into my ear right before I fall asleep….
It might have appeared to go unnoticed,
but I’ve got it all here in my heart.
I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it.
I would be nothing without you.
Nothing. You’d be nothing without me. And now everyone knows the truth. Of course you know it. I can’t help it if I have a beautiful face without a name, a beautiful smile to hide the pain. And I admit, sometimes it does get cold there in his shadow. But I just suck it up and put on a sweater.