Imagine the following scenario. You've met up with some friends to watch a footy game on a leisurely Saturday arvo. You set up on a grassy hill as everyone has a baby or toddler in tow (remember when you used to meet at the pub?!).
Each couple has parked their prams, spread out their blankets and pulled out an esky to enjoy a couple of cold ones. Ah, the serenity.
Next thing you know, one of the babies - who's just a few months old - has started rolling down the hill.
It's an alarming moment, that quickly becomes hilarious.
Fortunately, Mum was up on her feet within a micro-second and stops the runaway bub in his tracks. Little Fred is just fine and you all have a laugh.
Turns out, this isn't just an imagined scenario. And it was captured on live TV.
The group of friends were at Tamworth's Scully Park watching the National Rugby Championships and the moment was broadcast on Fox Sports, then recorded and posted to Facebook on the Cook Islands Men's 7's page.
"A baby casually rolling away at the rugby in Tamworth today. Country players are built tough from the get go," it was captioned.
The video has since gone viral - over 15,000 comments and 998,000 views - and rightly so. It's actually pretty funny.
But let's take a closer look.
Clearly, poor mum has had the fright of her life but her laser-sharp maternal reflexes kicked in and she leaps into action - despite the fact she nearly (accidentally) sits on her baby's head in the process. Oops.
Meanwhile, look at the dads.
They literally do not move. One hand casually slung in a pocket, sipping on a beer, chatting, watching the game. Eventually they notice the roll away baby and yet they still don't move a single inch! Zero concerns given.
Comments on the post relay a similar sentiment:
- "Check the dads out. Hands remained in pockets and feet did not move."
- "Haha! Too busy in their conversations."
- "Wow watching those dads spring into action."
- "Omg. Why can I see my husband being exactly like this."
I get it all happened pretty quickly, and even mum's female friends appeared to sit back and laugh, but I can't help thinking this video is symptomatic of a bigger phenomenon.
Namely, dads taking a back seat when it comes to paying full attention to the kids at social gatherings. Are you with me?
Case in point. I have two very active toddlers. My husband, bless him, is a very hands-on father and does more than his fair share when it comes to the kids on a daily basis. Domestic duties, bath time and daycare pick-ups are pretty evenly split. Heck, I'm willing to admit he cleans the house more then me.
But the minute we have friends over for a BBQ or head out for a social gathering - I often find he is overcome with child-minding inertia.
Yeah I get he is usually "looking after the barbecue" - i.e. standing around with a beer chatting to his mates - but I, too, am enjoying a drink with mates while simultaneously trying to stop toddler number one from throwing chips all over the carpet, toddler number two from using the cat as a ride-on scooter, ensuring everyone's drinks are full and assembling the salads. Hello multi-tasking.
My friends have noticed a similar phenomenon at play. "As soon as there is any kind of social gathering, my husband seems to relinquish all parental responsibility", explains one. "It drives me insane!"
Psychologist and couples therapist, Elizabeth Neal, agrees that this gender role bias does exist.
"Kids are often more attached to their mums when they're little and it makes it difficult to shake those ingrained patterns of who does what," she says.
"But I also think mums need to be more forthright about their needs in those situations - to explain that they want the freedom to be social so the dads need to be more switched on with managing the kids."
Communication is, once again, key.
Sure, no one likes a helicopter parent, but please just pay a little bit of attention buddy!
Because guess what? Sometimes mum's reflexes don't work as quickly as she'd like and little Freddie just keeps on rolling down that hill.