STFU Parents: Woe Is Dad: Complaining On Facebook Isn’t Just A Mom Thing

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One of the worst parenting stereotypes I can imagine is to assume that moms are the ones who do all the whining. As a woman, I know there are certain character traits that are often shared by both sexes but somehow get attributed much more to women than they are to men, and “complaining” is chief among them. Who among us doesn’t know a man who complains profusely about stupid shit? I can think of several men who throw up their hands when something occurs outside of their realm of control, but for some reason society doesn’t label these men as whiners; it labels them as authoritative and commanding, which almost reads as a compliment. When a mom complains on Facebook about someone not acknowledging her baby’s presence, for instance, she’s considered grating and unbearable, whereas when a dad does the same thing, people think it’s “protective” and shows familial devotion.

Because society reinforces this perception, the dads themselves can become more obnoxious and confident in their complaining, either by coming across as excessively aggressive (“If that school bus driver is impatient with my princess one more time, he’ll wish he was never born!”) or as annoyingly sentimental (“To the woman at the coffeeshop who glared at my crying son: Your comfort is not my concern. My concern is making my son feel safe and loved.”). When a mom complains, she’s treated as a “typical woman,” but when a dad complains, there’s a decent chance he’ll be regarded as a hero just for caring enough to express his frustration. It’s a disparity that stems from mothers being considered primary caregivers, which is how society has come to call dads who watch their own kids at home “babysitters.” When moms get irritated by petty grievances, we mock their sensitivity. When dads do it, we might praise them for being so committed to their kids.

It’s laughable how differently we might treat parents depending on who’s doing the whining, when in reality, moms and dads are all bemoaning the same gripes. So in an effort to continue the conversation about “bridging the overshare gender gap,” I wanted to take a look at the woe is dad. We all know a woe is dad — I can think of many, all of whom have been hidden in my Facebook newsfeed due to their nonstop venting and pontificating — and it’s time to take the spotlight off whiny moms and place it directly onto the bitchy dads. Let’s check out some examples, and don’t forget to check out the other two columns in the series thus far about daddyjackers and sactidaddies!

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