We’ve all seen the Dad memes. Memes about kids tearing down walls to get to mom when dad is literally sitting in the other room, or jokes about the siren call of the bathroom that men hear when mom pulls up with a trunk full of groceries. How many articles have we read about dads who can’t handle the most basic parts of the day that we moms can do blindfolded? They are all over the internet and it’s part of mom culture to sit around and gripe about the stupid things dads do. Let’s be honest, it’s the international pastime of women to be baffled by men, but there’s a whole other level of HUH?? when those men produce children. Men: can’t live with them….
It can be silly and harmless, but in the spirit of Father’s Day, I think we should give dads a break (but only a small one. That siren call is no joke in my house).
Before I had Hayden, I started to notice how other moms would react to their partners regarding their kids. Dad would start to change a diaper, and mom would immediately snap that he was doing it wrong. When dad started to make dinner, mom would jump all over him that it wasn’t the right meal and then proceed to make it herself. Dads gets the kiddos dressed, and mom complains that it’s not the right outfit. How many times do we complain “I wish he would just do it and not wait to be asked”? So when dad takes some initiative and jumps in, why do we then complain about how it’s done?! Is there any wonder why dad might eventually stop trying at all? We all know that mom’s way is the BEST way (#duh), but it isn’t the only way. We need to start giving our partners more credit. They love our kids just as much as we do. If we aren’t the one having to do it, LET IT GO! And I’m type-shouting at myself here, too. I’ve definitely gone through phases of being mega pissed that a task wasn’t done if I didn’t do it myself, while simultaneously being mega pissed when said task wasn’t done my way. We can’t have it both ways, mommas. Either we can take the break or do it ourselves. Some jobs I prefer to do because I know that it’ll drive me crazy if it’s not done a certain way, but with other jobs I’m just happy that I didn’t have to do them myself. Does it really matter how a job gets done as long as it’s done (or not) when the day is over? I would be LIVID if my husband gave me a hard time for taking it easy on myself and giving H a PB&J for dinner. And I’m pretty positive my head would explode if I ever heard “why wasn’t the kitchen clean when I got home?” Like mushroom-cloud level explosion. So is it really fair when I do that to him?
Now, obviously, there needs to be equal parts good cop/bad cop between parents. When we are the only parent pushing the vegetables, while dad sticks with pizza and ice cream, it definitely puts us in a “mom is mean and dad is fun” situation. That’s not fair to us and should be part of a larger conversation, but we need to cut dad some slack on his ability to take care of our kids. Would we have chosen to have kids with our partners if we didn’t trust them? Ultimately, we are a team when it comes to parenting and we only make things harder on ourselves when we cut our teammate off at the knees by undermining every single thing they do. And what does that teach our children? If every interaction a kid sees between their parents involves mom being snarky about how dad did something else wrong, why would they ever go to dad for anything? How much pressure do we put on ourselves when we take on the responsibility of “I’m the only one who knows how to do everything.” Our partners love our kids as much as we do. If at the end of the day, the kids are happy, healthy, and content, our jobs as parents are done. My husband is obsessed with Hayden and H lights up when Chris walks into the room. They are best buds and that will only grow stronger as Hayden gets older, so who am I to knock down that pedestal by discrediting the decisions that Chris makes? That’s not fair to any of us.
I love telling my friends a good “Chris did something dumb” story, but I need to make a better effort to recognize and acknowledge all the good things he does too, because there are just as many of those. But I still hate that ***ing siren call.