### Illustrating Disparities in Society’s Perception of Mothers and Fathers: A Mother’s Perspective

While patriarchy impacts all individuals negatively, it is evident that individuals who do not identify as cisgender heterosexual men experience a disproportionate amount of harm within the heteronormative patriarchal system. This phenomenon extends to the realm of parenting as well. In the context of heterosexual couples raising children, there is often a stark contrast in the expectations placed on fathers versus mothers. Fathers are often praised for minimal efforts, while mothers are burdened with the majority of the responsibilities, often at the expense of their personal lives and careers. Mary Catherine Starr, an artist, yoga instructor, and mother of two from Massachusetts, shed light on these frustrating and enraging double standards in parenting through a post on her @momlife_comics Instagram account. The post, titled “An Illustrated Guide To The Double Standards Of Parenting,” resonated strongly with many social media users, quickly becoming her most popular post to date.

In her illustrations, Starr highlighted the significant disparities in how society perceives mothers compared to fathers. She emphasized that the intention was not to criticize fathers but rather to critique a society that celebrates fathers for fulfilling basic parenting duties while demanding perfection from mothers and subjecting them to unwarranted scrutiny. Starr pointed out scenarios such as a dad taking his child to a doctor’s appointment being lauded as exceptional, whereas a mom doing the same task is considered routine and expected, regardless of her employment status. These examples aimed to underscore the societal biases that exist in parenting roles.

In an interview with HuffPost, Starr expressed her exhaustion with the societal trend of applauding fathers for minimal involvement in parenting while placing unrealistic standards on mothers. Drawing from her personal experiences as a mother navigating a world that often underestimates fathers’ childcare capabilities, Starr highlighted instances where she faced judgment and criticism that her husband would unlikely encounter. She emphasized the need to challenge these double standards and shift societal perceptions towards a more equitable view of parental responsibilities.

The post struck a chord with many parents, as evidenced by the numerous comments sharing similar experiences and frustrations with these entrenched double standards. The conversations sparked by Starr’s illustrations aimed to raise awareness and prompt a collective effort to reshape societal norms surrounding parenting roles. By shedding light on these disparities, Starr hoped to initiate a dialogue that would lead to meaningful change in how mothers and fathers are perceived and supported in their parenting journey.