Never did I think this would take the life it has, but here we are, so let's just get right into it.

Following the Spring 2024 Girls on the Run event for the Maine chapter in Brunswick, Maine, on Sunday, June 2, I addressed a comment that was made to me while I was in the middle of emceeing, referencing me praising the Girl Dads in the crowd a couple of times and how the Moms that always show up deserve praise as well.

Fast forward to the article being published on social media, and a lot of fiery comments being left on said social media posts. Flat out, I don't regret praising those Girl Dads in the crowd. They deserve credit for showing up for their daughters and being fully active in their lives.

However, that said. That's not where the praise should end.

Photo by Paige Cody on Unsplash / Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash / Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash
Photo by Paige Cody on Unsplash / Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash / Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash

There was one common message being posted in the comments section of the thread created from the article:

Dads get praise as standing out for something that is seen as being a baseline behavior for Moms.

And I'm paraphrasing that from a combination of comments to that effect that were left on the social media post, but it took me reading that over and over in the comments section for it to sink in. And, I'll be the first to admit that I'm blessed to be so naïve to that fact.

I mentioned in the original article that spawned this whole thing that my Mom is my best friend. And the more I think about it, the more I realize how much she spoiled me. There hasn't been one moment of my life where she hasn't been there -- the celebratory times, the heartbreaking times, the lesson-learning times, the exciting times, the scary times -- she's always been there.

(Author's Note: I know what I'm about to say isn't the case for everyone, so don't think I'm also naïve enough to not realize that sometimes, one parent plays the part of both roles for whatever reason -- and I mean that as Dad playing both Mom and Dad as well as I mean Mom playing both Mom and Dad.)

As I'm sure other Moms -- perhaps you reading this right now -- have been there for their children. And that's where it gets wonky and has even almost turned into a double-edged sword when it comes to the praise being given.

Because Moms are always there and have always been the constant, that has just become the normal behavior. Expected? Probably. But it's just become the normal behavior that Mom is always there no matter what, and Dad could be too, but could also be more fleeting so that when he does show up, it's seen as a big deal.

And that's not a slight at either parent or either gender -- it's just become the norm for us without us realizing it I think; until something happens like someone praises a few Girls Dads on a microphone at an event, gets called on it (and, for the record, I don't disagree with what that woman said to me, it was more the timing of it all), and the realization kicks in.

Photo by Jose Escobar on Unsplash / Photo by Raul Angel on Unsplash
Photo by Jose Escobar on Unsplash / Photo by Raul Angel on Unsplash

So, Moms -- whether you're in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, or freakin' Hawaii -- I'll end on this.

I see you. And thank you.

Thank you for always being there. Thank you for always showing up. Thank you for being the constant. Like those Girl Dads that danced to Taylor Swift, thank you for also Shaking It Off. Thank you for also dressing up with your kids to celebrate them.

Thank you for the praise. Thank you for the tough talks. Thank you for the lessons. Thank you for never giving up. Thank you for never stopping. Thank you for, somehow, always finding a way to get it done. Thank you for being legitimate superheroes.

And to everyone else -- men, women, children -- let's do better at showing Mom the love and praise. Because even though she's always there, it's just as big of a deal when she's there as it is when Dad is, too.

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