Some Nigerian dads who play active roles in caring for their children have taken to Twitter to complain about society’s perception of their roles and how people, women especially, seem to think it’s unusual for them to be doing ‘mommy’s’ work.
A responsible dad, Damilola Praiseworth began by sharing how a nurse in the hospital saw him changing his son’s diapers and looked at him with disdain while asking, ‘why is daddy doing mommy’s job? Please give the baby back to his mother.’
He went on to narrate other experiences, adding that when they see him doing things for his child, they assume his wife is incompetent.
He condemned this perception and said men should be as much involved in the care of their children as women and such men shouldn’t be praised like they are doing anything exceptional. He wrote:
”Few months back, our baby was admitted. As always, myself & my wife were in the ward taking care of things. I happened to be the one changing our baby’s diaper when a nurse came in. She was middle aged and had this look of disdain seeing me changing my son, and she said…
“…Why is Daddy doing Mummy’s Job? Please give the baby to his mother”. This wasn’t my first time experiencing this, where some older women just assume incompetence once they see me involved or perceive my wife as being spoilt and conclude that I’m weak or controlled.
The worst for me was some days back when I went to the pharmacy to pick some meds for our baby and the middle aged female pharmacist on duty goes “please I want to give this to the mother instead”. I told her I was the father and she says… I know, but you will be very busy so let me give the mother please”.
I revolted, and told her how wrong that was and then collected the medications and got directions on how to administer them to our baby
Even my friend @JoshuaKesena had a similar experience where a stranger on seeing him carrying his baby alone, while his wife was eating her food, came in and snatched the baby from him and she says “Why are you the one carrying the baby? Please, give her to her mother.”
”It’s sad to see that our society has given silly excuses for men not to be involved or responsible & instead focus on training women on how to cope with irresponsible men like there’s no other way. And when they see a man who is loving & involved, he is perceived as a weakling.
While there are irresponsible men, I have seen more sincere young men who want to do better & be more responsible but don’t know how to start because at the slightest try, they get push back from society with statements like “Don’t you know you are a man? Why are you doing this?””
If it took two to bring a child into the world, why is one person automatically excused for being absent and not involved? I believe men should be very involved in their homes and their children’s lives…… And this shouldn’t be done like they are doing a favour, seeking praises or assisting the woman. It should be done with all sense of responsibility, full ownership, service, love and sacrifice.
There’s nothing ‘Macho’ about being absent & the earlier society realises this, the better The true strength of a man lies in his vulnerability, empathy, service, love & sacrifice without any sense of entitlement. If we communicate this better, our generation will be better for it.”
Few months back, our baby was admitted. As always, myself & my wife were in the ward taking care of things. I happened to be the one changing our babys' diaper when a nurse came in. She was middle aged and had this look of disdain seeing me changing my son, and she said…
— Damilola Praiseworth (@Depraiz) March 31, 2021
Praiseworth’s thread led other involved fathers to share their experiences.
Read them below.