'Are you babysitting?' Single dad of four-year-old daughter reveals the things he's tired of mothers asking him
'I bet you would've loved a son?'
Raising a child is a huge responsibility, one which can be even more challenging as a single parent.
But while many of us will praise parents who raise a child on their own, one single dad has created a list of things he wishes people would stop asking him when it comes to looking after his four-year-old daughter.
Micheal Ray, 54, a personal trainer from Melbourne in Australia, has been looking after his daughter Charlie on his own for the past two years. He takes her to ballet classes, does her hair and cares for her just as any other parent would.
However, he's now spoken out about the comments h's received while out in public with his daughter. Speaking to Kidspot, he admitted that sometimes parents can be 'patronising', or imply that he won't be able to look after a little girl on his own.
He said: 'Women are mostly supportive buy some say patronising things, like "how do you manage?" It's just the same as any single parent.'
He added: 'The majority of women I encounter are wonderful and so supportive and complementary but while I'm aware that our family situation is slightly different from the norm it shouldn't be seen as anything different to a single mum.'
Michael provided a list of all the things he's sick of hearing from members of the public about caring for a daughter.
The first question he said women tend to ask is 'Are you babysitting today/ Is Daddy in charge today?'. Michael explained 'I think this is the most common phrase I get. No I'm actually parenting!
'I don't know why the assumption is a father must be babysitting and couldn't possibly be the primary or as in my case sole carer of a child'.
Other questions Michael was tired of hearing included 'Do you want to call your wife and check?', which he said 'comes across as a little rude'.
He also explained that he always does Charlie's hair, despite being asked 'who does her hair and nails?'. He said: 'One time when I dressed her nicely we had at least five women throughout the day give really nice compliments about what a fantastic job "mummy" had done making her look so pretty.'
'Some were in disbelief when Charlie or I told them I had taken care of it, some even going so far as to say "isn't daddy clever?"'
Michael said he could never imagine saying some of thing things he's heard to a single mum, including 'Every little girl needs her mum!' and 'You'll need help when she gets to puberty!'
The final question in Micheal's list was: 'I bet you would've loved a son?' While Michael admits 'I used to be a bit of a macho type man's mans man' he says 'formerly a boxer, currently a personal trainer and multiple Australian powerlifting record holder I think the inference is I'm qualified to mentor a little boy than my princess?
But Micheal sounds like he's doing an amazing job raising Charlie as he said: 'I've never been so aware of the effect of my example will have on Charlie so every 2-3 weeks I bring home a surprise bunch of flowers in the hope she'll expect this from any future suitors.
'Also if ever I feel like raising my voice or being terse with Charlie I can't help but think how I'd feel if I heard her future partner speaking to Charlie like that and how upset I'd be if she somehow thought it was acceptable.'
Charlotte Whistlecroft is a former Family writer at GoodTo. She obtained a BA in Theology and Theological Studies at Durham University, going on to study a masters at City University London in 2016. Since leaving GoodTo she has worked as a Social Video Researcher at Mail Online and is now Assistant Producer at BBC Sport.
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