For every dad who's ever been underestimated, called a "babysitter," or unfairly called irresponsible, one dad has some heartfelt words to share.
Charlie Capen, who blogs at How To Be a Dad, had an experience that led him to write a Facebook post that reminds us all to never judge a parent by a single encounter. Capen was in the grocery store with his wife and two children when he jokingly slipped an ice cube down his oldest child's shirt after the two had discussed how hot the weather was. A fellow grocery shopper saw the incident and went up to his wife.
"Did you know you have three kids?" she said to her.
In the moment, Capen couldn't think of the right way to respond, but later he took to Facebook to write an open letter to this woman.
"I stood there completely dumbfounded by the question and didn't even have the courtesy to respond to your patronizing words," he said. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you that I love my kids but don't consider myself one."
"I'm sorry you can't tell the difference between having a good time with your kids and being immature. I'm sorry if you think men are irresponsible or babysitters but that's an outdated way of thinking. More than anything, I'm sorry for the men in your life who've convinced you of this idea."
Capen has made a living writing about fatherhood for over five years and has spoken about how many fathers are working to strip away gender bias when it comes to parenting. He was frustrated that this woman, who only saw him for a moment, decided to underestimate him and his role as a parent without a second thought.
"So, I'm sorry if making my kids laugh in a public place warrants a snarky remark, but I need to teach them adults need some levity as the world faces some of its toughest battles ahead," he said. "I plan to keep laughing with them for as long as I live."
HIs post has been liked by over 1.3 thousand users and has been shared over 150 times since it was posted last week. However, several people took issue with his post calling him "whiney" and "overly sensitive." In a follow-up Facebook post, Capen wrote that comments like these keep men from sharing their true feelings.
"And people wonder why men bottle up their emotions after they get the emotional shit beaten out of them for communicating," he said. "I've been on the Internet long enough to brush this stuff off, but I wonder about the thousands of men who have inner dialogues and shut themselves down to keep the status quo. God forbid they want to evolve and support women in the process. We're raising a generation of boys like this. It's disheartening."
We're disheartened by this, too. We hope his Capen's message will make people think twice about judging a parent by one single encounter.