Even today, moms — whether they work outside the home or not — are expected to do it all. In heterosexual relationships, that means they’re often shouldering the majority of parenting duties and household labor — especially the invisible kind.
In the comics, dads are shown saying the things we’re accustomed to hearing moms say and vice versa. For example, in one comic, a man pushing a stroller tells his friend: “My colleagues are always asking me how I balance being a working dad.” In another, a woman tells a co-worker: “I’m not like other women. I believe in equality and plan to help my husband with the kids.”
The quotes featured in the comics were inspired by the Instagram feed of Laura Danger (@thatdarnchat), an educator who facilitates workshops for couples seeking a more equitable division of labor in their households.
Flipping the script on parenting double standards really highlights how ridiculous they are.
“Someone recommended I follow [Laura Danger] after my ‘Double Standards of Parenting’ comic went viral,” Starr told HuffPost. “I was immediately struck by her posts that had quotes by ‘men’ that were clearly quotes by women that she had edited so they looked like they were from the male perspective.”
“I read these posts aloud to my husband, and he needed me to repeat many of them because they sounded so confusing from the male perspective that they were almost hard to follow,” she added. “But from the female’s perspective, they sounded ‘right.’”
That gave Starr the idea to illustrate these statements in comic form. She hoped that laying it out this way would highlight how ridiculous these double standards really are and would make moms, dads and even employers “stop and think about the differing expectations we have for parents based solely on their gender,” Starr said.
Starr collaborated on the comics with educator Laura Danger, who runs workshops for couples looking to achieve a more balanced division of labor.
Since sharing the post on Instagram, Starr has received tons of messages from women around the world saying how much these comics have affected them, regardless of where they live. Many people have also told her that they found the comics “difficult to read” or that they made them “uncomfortable” because seeing the words come out of the mouth of a man instead of a woman (or vice versa) was so unfamiliar.
“So many of us have said these exact same things ourselves — not the flipped version, of course — but seeing them switched around shows how sexist and unfair they really are,” Starr said. “It hits hard when presented this way, which is why I love Laura’s work so much.”
We hear about mom guilt all the time. But dad guilt? Hardly ever.
Starr said she started her Instagram account because she wanted a place to talk about the challenges of trying to find a more equal division of household labor and parenting duties. Before she and her husband had kids, things were divided pretty evenly. But once they became parents, more and more began falling onto Starr’s plate. During the pandemic, she reached her breaking point. The couple has since been working to “re-balance the scales.”
“[It’s] been challenging, though, because it’s hard to undo these patterns that are so common in heterosexual couples and often very supported by our societal expectations of what moms and dads ‘should’ do,” she said. “But we’re working on it! And my hope is that my comics encourage other couples to work on it, too.”
Starr is also reading Eve Rodsky’s book “Fair Play,” which outlines a system for divvying up household tasks more equitably.
“I know that many couples have found this book and method to be super helpful in balancing the scales. I’m hoping it will be for us, too,” she added.