Knowing we were going to be featured, the comments section was kind of in the back of my mind as something to be feared. Stuff commenters are so often either silly or mean – and very often both.
What would they say about us?
Well, I never would have guessed the genre of comments the piece would elicit … and first, let me say that I wouldn’t even be writing my bit in reply if there hadn’t been more than one, which to me implies an issue to be addressed, however much of a minority view it may represent.
So, one commenter said:
I assume your columnist is unaware fathers are also parents. Otherwise this story would have been titled ‘How to get your PARENTS to sleep’.
I am certain you would never publish a story about business leaders or professionals that implied business leaders or professionals all belonged to one gender. So why do you accept this in a story about parenting?
And another said:
Mums might be an important part, however, Dads also need to get to sleep. Sadly too many of our media feed the misconception that Dads dont matter, maybe its dont talk about them and they will go away. They are here and they are here to stay – start utilising them!
Readers (commenters?), the one point I have to make – can only legitimately make – is this:
I am a blogger; we tend to write about our own lives. I am a mummy. Point ends.
The side point that I just can’t resist making though – and I’m wondering really why I have to make it, but I’ll make it anyway – is this: in our household, it is my job to get my daughter back to sleep each time she wakes during the night, because I have the boobies. I’m going to go out on a limb and make another blanket statement and say that a similar situation applies in the household of every mummy I personally know. Maybe I don’t know enough people? I am by no means saying that I don’t believe dads face sleep battles; that would be ridiculous. I’m talking about the norm.
(By the way, to clarify: getting up multiple times in the night ain’t pleasant but I am grateful that I can breastfeed and for the benefits it bestows, and I have never fought for any other person to take on the responsibility of getting Miss Bee back to sleep when she wakes in the night.)
To turn the commenters’ points around: is it an equivalent scandal that in the average article in the media about a male business leader or professional, journalists do not consciously make the point that there are also women in business? Is it a travesty that in so many spheres of human life (um, business politics sport science the arts shall I continue?), the media is not mentioning women, ‘feeding the misconception that they don’t matter’?
Seriously, every time we talk about a battle women face in parenting, are we obliged to mention that dudes sometimes face it too?
Nope, I’m sorry, that’s not feasible. That’s just not the model you dudes set up for acknowledging (or not) the best efforts of the other team.
I have this sneaky suspicion that if I were to publicly make this complaint, though, whiny commenters (perhaps even the same ones) would accuse me of being a whiny feminist.
Guilty as charged, I guess.