In a perfect world, we’d praise moms every day for all they do. I’m a dad, and I get praised everywhere I go for fairly basic stuff. For instance, I was once commended for feeding my child in public. “Wow, what a good dad!” the lady said. I wasn’t performing the task while blindfolded or juggling—I was just sitting in Panera, spooning mac and cheese into my kid’s mouth between bites of my own lunch.
People never praise moms for stuff like that. Quite the opposite, because we all know mom-shaming is alive and well. Bottle-feeding instead of breast-feeding? You’ll be shamed for that. Using disposable diapers instead of free-range organic hemp diapers? You’ll be shamed for that. Employed full-time? Employed part-time? Not employed at the moment? Shame, shame, shame.
As a dad who simply shows up, I’m exempt from shaming. Sorry. I know it’s not fair. For years, I’ve been asking people to stop giving dads extra credit for performing simple parenting tasks. But maybe that’s the wrong approach. Maybe, instead of tempering our praise of dads, we should simply extend that praise to moms. Let’s not just end mom-shaming; let’s take it one step further and praise moms for all the things we praise dads for. Spread the love.
So, the next time you see a mom feeding her child at Panera, tell her she’s a good mom. Because you know what? She probably is. Below is a list of more things to inspire you.
These are all things I’ve seen dads get congratulated for—sometimes that dad was me, and sometimes it was other dads I know.
If a mom bakes cookies, tell her she’s a great mom.
If a mom dresses her kids nicely for a wedding or funeral, tell her you’re impressed.
If a mom uses coupons at Target, say, “Way to go, Mom!”
If a mom changes her child’s diaper in a public restroom, say, “I just love seeing moms change diapers!”
Speaking of diapers, if a mom knows what size diaper her own kid wears, nudge her with your elbow and say, “Oooo! Nice going!”
If you spot a mom at the mall with her infant and toddler and no dad in sight, tell her she’s the mother of the year for handling both kids all by herself.
If you see a mom carrying her crying baby around a restaurant to calm the child down while her partner eats, smile at her and say, “You’re a good mom.”
If a mom knows what foods her kids are allergic to and can read labels all by herself, say, “Look at you! Nice job!”
If you see a mom and dad at the grocery store, give the mom a grin. Then, gently touch the dad’s arm and say, “It’s always nice to get help, isn’t it? You’ve got a good one here.” Then, grin at the mom again.
Or, if you see a mom with her kids at a grocery store, and her cart is filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, tell her she’s making good choices and that her partner should be proud.
As I said, I’ve seen dads—including me—get praised for all of those.
Moms, on the other hand—they’re expected to do those things. Let’s stop shaming moms, for sure. But let’s also praise moms for the diaper changes, the meal planning, and the multitasking. It’s not hard. Just pretend they’re dads.