Why Do We Praise Dads For Doing The Same Parental Labor We Expect From Moms?

There's an obvious double standard here.

tiktokers with their kids @emily.belson, @laurelizabethofficial / TikTok

Emily Belson, a mom based in Maryland, recently shed light on an often-unnoticed yet frustrating aspect of parenting — the glaring double standards between mothers and fathers.

In this particular instance, Belson's husband took an ordinary trip to the grocery store with their young boys, aged one and two, when strangers applauded his "bare minimum" parenting. She shared the story on the video-sharing app TikTok. 


Why are dads being praised for the same parental labor as moms?

Three people stopped Emily's husband during his grocery store visit, all of whom praised him for his dedication as a dad. 



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"My husband just got home from the grocery store; he took both boys, they're 1 and 2," Emily said. "Three people stopped him to tell him what a great dad he was for taking them to the store."

Her reaction was a mix of surprise and irony because, as a mother, Emily had made countless such trips with her children. Yet, nobody had ever taken a moment to commend her for her efforts. 

"Do you know how many times I've taken both of my kids to the grocery store, to literally everywhere? A million. How many people have stopped me to say I'm a great mom? Zero," she said.

Embellishing her video with a tinge of sarcasm, she added a caption "Gold star, apparently," and punctuated it with the hashtag #bareminimum."


She's not the only one to share her double-standard parenting experience. Lauren Elizabeth is a mom who shared her experience on TikTok. In a recent viral post, she gave a list of things that dads are disproportionately praised for.



She shared a common response to a mother taking a load off: "Why are you sitting?" Meanwhile, many people perceive a father as more so in need of relaxation and won't argue with it.

In addition to that, a mother is called "lazy" when she gets takeout instead of cooking dinner. On the other hand, a father is lauded as a "fun dad" for doing the same thing. Finally, taking children out for an activity is an expectation for moms and an act worthy of praise for dads.


Many people replied to the post, agreeing with her assertions, even sharing similar experiences. But not all dads relish the praise for "bare minimum" parenting.

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At least some men are recognizing the double standard. 

Clint Edwards, a father, shared a story with YourTango in March 2022. Having spent a long night with her caring for their baby, he remarked to his wife, Mel, "At least I get up with her. A lot of men don't. You should be grateful." 

Photo: ArtMari / Shutterstock


"I wish you would stop saying that," she responded. Meanwhile, she's juggling her many roles as a mother, college student and volunteer at their children's charter school. 

One day as he was leaving for work, they got into a low-toned argument, since two of their children were sleeping, about how he wanted more appreciation for his parenting. "It makes me feel like you want me to kiss your butt every time you get up in the night. This is your baby, too," Mel said.

After he took off on his drive and did some self-reflection, he felt like a "jerk." He understood Mel's view, realizing that their shared chores were not extraordinary but regular responsibilities. From his office, he apologized, saying, "You're right. This is a partnership. I'm going to stop."


The imbalance in domestic responsibilities was further highlighted by Francyne Zeltser, the Clinical Director of Psychology, Training, and Special Projects at Manhattan Psychology Group, PC, in an interview with TODAY.com

"Domestic responsibilities, especially when specific to childcare, still belong to women in many households," she said. "Even when labor isn't physical, someone — usually the mom — has to plan and coordinate dinner, school pickup and birthdays."

Given that parenting responsibilities shouldn't just fall on the mother, and are shared by fathers, it's time to end the double standard and give moms and dads equal praise for just doing their jobs.

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Ethan Cotler is a writer and frequent contributor to YourTango living in Boston. His writing covers entertainment, news, and human interest stories.