I'm a Husband and a Father, but I'm Not Helpful
Fact: My wife is Superwoman.
Also Fact: Women, en masse, have super powers. They possess a strength and resolve that can only be described as superhuman.
As a society, I don't think we recognize and acknowledge those facts nearly as often as we should. In general. But when it comes to parenting, I think women are considered the go-to, primary figures. Held with the highest regard and, in most cases, rightfully so.
The default thinking seems to be that if there is a man around, he's pretty hands off at best and an additional dependent at worst. Fact: That is the unfortunate truth/reality in some households. It is not, however, the reality of mine.
I am a husband. And I am a father. Two roles I don't take lightly. If there are mouths that need to be fed, I cook. If there are clothes that need to be cleaned or folded or put away, I clean, fold, and put away. If dishes are dirty, I wash them. Now, I will admit...there are some things that I am physically incapable of doing (breastfeeding our daughter) and some things that I'm just not great at (managing our finances). That is what marriage is. It's a partnership. It's creating balance with each other and for each other.
Even with a decent track record of being a decent partner, there are still moments when my wife thanks me for "helping out with the dishes". And I have to constantly remind her that I did not help with the dishes. I just did them. Because they were dirty. And that's just with something as mundane as dishes. So you can imagine how much it bothers me when people acknowledge "how helpful I am with my kids".
I am a father. I repeat. I. Am. A. Father. I have kids. With my wife, aka my partner. I do not help her with our kids. I father my kids. Because that is my job. I am not claiming to be the best dad or the best partner. And I'm not saying I don't appreciate the occasional pat of the back. I am saying that I am not helpful. I am just doing what I am supposed to do. I am sharing the responsibilities of marriage and parenthood.