There is a very short answer to this question, which is of course, no. The more important issue, for me, is the presumption that lies behind the question.
At the very least it is outdated and misguided, at worst it is leading and damaging; how demoralising to have your ability to parent questioned in this way. I hear dads comment that they feel that society expects fathers to take a lesser, more silent, role in their children’s lives. I have witnessed a tendency to defer; to look to a mother for reassurance, acceptance, permission. As if mothers magically have all the answers; know their children better.
Being a good parent has little, if anything, to do with gender. Being a good parent has everything to do with love and time and commitment.
Speaking personally, I was never a baby person. My husband though, he’s a natural. And while I may have mellowed and learnt, over the years, to be more confident around children; my husband’s ability to entertain and engage groups of children has gone from strength to strength.
He is an amazing father; hands on, engaged, interested, invested and loving. He may forget doctors appointments and what time they start school in the morning; but he will always be willing to play, to listen to the latest story, to cuddle away a nightmare. He has far more patience than I will ever have. He is a wonderful parent.
Perhaps this question is symptomatic of a society that still makes it difficult for parents to share responsibility evenly? Where flexible working is still seen as the preserve of working mothers. Where surprise is still expressed on meeting a stay at home dad.
There are good parents and bad parents. There are those who are engaged and interested, and those who are distant and careless. These traits have nothing to do with being male or female; they are driven by personality and heart.
Parenting is not a competition. There is no mums versus dads race for the Parenting Cup.
We’re all in it together; and it isn’t about being the better parent, it’s about being the best parent we can be.
You can find this weeks #ThePrompt linky here. I do hope this topic inspired you; I look forward to reading your posts.