Today, I travelled from Boston to St. Louis with my two children, aged one and almost four. I have done this in the past, and every time I travel solo with my kids, I get a variety of responses. These are a more exaggerated version of the common, “Oh, giving your wife a break,” or “Babysitting today?” comments that dads with young children get regularly. These comments annoy me. I live in a mecca of leftist leaning citizenry, yet the sex stereotypes for parenting are alive and well there.
Even more dramatic is when, as a solo dad, I enter the airport with two kids in tow. No one has literally fallen over themselves to help me, but it has come close. Folks press elevator buttons (which annoys the heck out of my daughter as it is her privilege to do so), carry my bags, offer to carry my children, and more. This behavior sometimes annoys me, but as any parent who has traveled solo with kids knows, any help is usually a really nice thing. Not responding to the shocked expressions of disbelief or the comments, “You are really brave,” I smile and accept the help.
I should not be getting this help just because I am a man; all parents flying solo with kids should get it. Moms don’t always get this help.