Hey New York Times, can you not? Thanks.
This weekend, while women were out marching for their basic human rights, the men of Montclair, New Jersey were left alone to fend for themselves at coffee shops and parks. It was such a momentous occasion, The New York Times decided to cover it. “How vital are women? This town found out as they left to march,” is the actual name of an actual article that published on Sunday — and may we just ask, “What in the actual fuck?”
In this tribute to bravery and sacrifice, sports writer Filip (don’t get us started) Bondy wrote about the men of Montclair, New Jersey, who were apparently thrown for a complete loop when their wives left town for the Women’s March on Washington, leaving them solely responsible for their children for an entire day. We got the feeling we were in trouble when the story’s lede was about the absence of women in Starbucks and yoga classes that day.
Lord, give us strength.
The article focuses on the idea that dads were left scrambling to handle their kids while their wives marched for women’s equality, something that even the men interviewed in the article didn’t seem to agree with. For example: “’Doing everything by myself all day long is not typical,’ Mr. Coyle said, not so much complaining as stating a simple logistical fact.” Bondy describes the day like this, however: “Routines were radically altered, and many fathers tried to meet weekend demands alone for a change…children’s birthday parties, dance performances, swimming lessons, lacrosse and indoor soccer practices.”
The horror. The horror.
(There was also this line: “Growling stomachs required filling on a regular basis.” What? Were these fathers unaware of this? Were they taking their kids to emergency rooms, panicked by the noises coming from their stomachs, only to be told to give their kid a fucking sandwich? We don’t think “kids needed food” is something that deserves to be highlighted, here.)
Basically, what the dads told him was, “Yeah, this is what’s happening. I’m just doing my best, making it work,” and Bondy interpreted that as: “Fathers abandoned by their wives struggle desperately to remember if children need coats.” Granted, there was the one guy who said: “I did have to laugh at the irony of my wife marching for equality in New York while I was missing the game and cleaning out the refrigerator,” as if marching for women’s equality was of comparable importance to game-watching and refrigerator-cleaning. But he doesn’t appear to represent what most of those men were feeling. And thank God. Because ew.
The article is infuriating and ridiculous, and here’s why: First of all, don’t tell us you’re going to talk about how important women are and then only write about mothers. Women play many roles in this world, one of which, for some, is being a mom. Women are “vital” for reasons beyond our ability to care for our children. It’s the truth.
Second, you know what many women call taking care of all of a child’s needs for a day? Years zero through five. Why are we still applauding men who parent their children? Why do we continue to act like a father taking his daughter to ballet practice is heroic? For Pete’s sake, the pictures accompanying this article are of one man “help[ing] his daughter…put on her coat after a dance class” and another “playing with his daughter and son in Edgemont Park.” Well, whoop-dee-shit. Let’s have a motherfucking parade.
And finally, aren’t we past the tired cliche of the bumbling dad? There are now millions of dads, some of whom stay at home while their wives work, who play an equal if not larger role in raising their children. Are there men out there who still don’t get it? Of course. Lots of them. But stories like this only diminish men by making it look like the everyday demands of parenting require some kind of undue effort from them.
But fear not for the fathers of Montclair — all was righted on late Saturday night when their wives returned home. Or, as Bondy put it: “The JaiPure Yoga Studio reported full attendance, and many fathers exhaled in relief.”
(Pro tip: when choosing pillows to scream into, make sure it isn’t the one your cat has been sleeping on.)
The moms in the article, of course, had some truths to share at the end of the day: “’He was great, and there was no expectation he wouldn’t be,’ Ms. Githens Coyle said. ‘He’s a parent, not a babysitter. The children are still alive.’” We’re pretty sure that’s polite for, “Please, help us all by getting over yourself, and make sure that when you do it you are out of my house.”