Being a new parent is tough, especially when you’re a new dad. Although times have changed and a lot of fathers are now actively involved in raising their children, it appears the way society views fathers hasn’t made much in the way of progress.
Watch any modern TV sitcom and you’ll see the same role portrayed time and time again. The clueless dad who constantly screws up and has no clue what he’s doing. While mothers are frequently respected and seen as the go to parenting experts, dads are fast becoming tired of being treated like the idiot of the family.
The role portrayed through the media has firmly stuck in people’s minds. Unintentionally, many people, particularly women, end up treating fathers like children. Now, men across the globe are standing up and saying enough is enough. They’ve started to share their experiences and have revealed the top things people say which leads to huge frustration and despair.
This isn’t to say ALL women are guilty. In fact, these dads have been quick to state that the majority of women have been incredibly supportive and understanding. They also recognize many women have no idea they are being patronizing and they are saying these frustrating phrases from a well-meaning standpoint. So, what are the top things you might want to avoid saying to dedicated fathers?
Here we’ll look at 10 top things dads everywhere wish people would stop saying. Take a look and see if you’re guilty of any of the phrases below…
1. How On Earth Do You Manage?
This one is most commonly aimed at single or stay at home dads. More men than ever before are choosing to be the stay-at-home parent while their partner goes out to work. However, while women are often praised for continuing on with their career and being a working parent, men are greeted with a mixture of surprise and worry when they admit to being the main caregiver.
So how do they manage? Like any other parent, there really is no difference between a stay at home dad and a stay at home mom.
2. You’re Such A Good Dad
Ok so granted, there are a lot of deadbeat dads out there. However, they’re definitely not the majority. Most dads are not only present in their children’s lives these days, but are active participants. They share the night feeds, spend time with their little ones, bathe them, tell them stories, change their diapers and all the other fun stuff that comes with parenting.
Now obviously, being told you’re a good dad is amazing. It’s a nice thing to say. It’s more the way it is said which can causes issues. Think about it, when you see another mom out and about doing standard parenting things with their children, you don’t usually say “you’re such a good mom” do you? The need to compliment them on their daily routine isn’t needed. So, ask yourself why it’s said to dads rather than moms.
3. Are You Babysitting Today?
This is probably one of the most frustrating sayings for dads. Sometimes the question isn’t even directed at them, it’s said to the children as “is daddy babysitting today?” The main reason this one is met with frustration is because when you’re a dad it isn’t babysitting – it’s parenting.
Babysitting refers to looking after somebody else’s child. It’s something you do for a little while and then hand the child over. Dads are equal in their parenting responsibilities. So, taking their little ones out shopping or for a run around the park isn’t babysitting, it’s simply being a parent.
4. You’re Doing It Wrong, Watch What I Do
This is one many moms are likely guilty of. As a new mom, it’s natural to be protective over your little one; especially if you’re the one who stays at home with the children. You have figured out the best way of doing things and it’s frustrating to watch dad come in and do it “wrong”.
However, what you forget is that they don’t always get the same amount of precious time you do to spend with the kids. Therefore, they are learning at a slower pace. This doesn’t make him useless or bad at parenting, it just means he needs extra time to figure out the right way of doing certain things. Though it’s important to stress here that with some parts of parenting there is no “right way”. There’s a right way to change a diaper and to put on a onesie. However, when it comes to holding baby or disciplining a toddler, you may just have two different ways of doing things.
The key is to trust him the way you trust yourself. Sure, he’ll make a few mistakes but so do you. No parent, mom or dad, is perfect.
5. Are You Sure You Don’t Want To Call Your Wife To Double Check?
Strangers are often the biggest criticizers of dads. One of the more patronizing things said to fathers is whether they’re sure they don’t want to call their partner to double check before they do something. It could be when he’s trying to decide on a particular product in the pharmacy for example. Or taking his little girl to the hairdresser and asking for a specific style. It’s insulting that only mom can make such important decisions.
6. Did Daddy Dress The Baby Today?
One of the things dads are assumed to suck at the most is dressing babies. All parents can agree it’s not as simple as it seems! There’s bound to be a few wardrobe malfunctions along the way. However, these baby fashion faux pas happen to both parents, yet it’s the dad who automatically gets the blame.
Dads are also more practical dressers. When it’s time to get baby dressed ready to go out, they think more about what the weather is doing than they do about the latest trends. As long as baby is warm and comfortable, that’s all that really matters.
7. You Did Her Hair And Nails?
This one is a little more understandable, but it’s still patronizing to the modern man. Dads with daughters often need to do their hair and nails. While many dads will openly admit to being pretty clueless about such things, it doesn’t mean they can’t do them. YouTube has become a popular go-to source for hair tutorials, making it easy for dads to learn and become pros at all kinds of hairstyles.
8. What Do You Do All Day?
This loaded question is aimed at the awesome dads who have made the decision to be the stay-at-home parent.
When you think of stay-at-home moms, you automatically picture them cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids and running errands. However, for some reason stay-at-home dads don’t tend conjure up the same image. Yet that’s exactly what they do. They don’t sit watching TV all day, letting their kids do whatever they want. They parent, they take care of the house, they do what any good stay-at-home mom does.
9. You’re Getting To Play Mr. Mom Today
A common phrase that’s cropped up in recent years is “Mr. Mom”. It’s practically the same as the babysitting comment, only it sounds even more demeaning to dads. It gives the impression that parenting is a woman’s job and looking after the kids for any amount of time isn’t what dads do.
It couldn’t be further from the truth for most dads too. Even those who do work full time have worked out a good work and family balance so they get to spend more time at home being an active father.
10. You’re Very Brave
This saying tends to be more common amongst the older generation who in all fairness, were alone in the child-raising process. It’s a baffling thing for dad to hear as it’s not like they are out fighting bears or hunting for their next meal. Instead, they’re doing what all parents do, they’re taking their kids out to run errands. It’s not brave, it’s normal.
Overall, more than anything, dad’s just want to be treated as equals. They don’t want to be referred to as the babysitter, Mr.Mom or the clueless halfwit who has no clue what they are doing. They don’t want to be praised for simply taking care of their kids. Times have changed and the role of fathers has changed. Recognizing that and treating dad like an equal will be much more appreciated than you might realize.
Are you unintentionally guilty of uttering these phrases? Or maybe you’re a dad who has experienced these sayings? Let us know below…
Hey really liked what you had to say here. Not sure how old your kids are (haven’t had a chance to check your site out yet) but some of these as a Dad you tend to grow out of hearing just because it becomes you and people identify you as a Dad that does these things. I think #2 is the one that drives me crazy the most to this day. Although the acknowledgement is welcomed it gets to the point where you hear it and keep hearing it, I’m 6 years in now as a parent, and I just want to ask people what did they expect? Is the public’s perception of fatherhood that down trodden that being a good day shouldn’t be expected? It’s actually a very awkward comment to receive for me and usually kills a conversation.
Haha, I actually showed this article to my partner and he thought you captured all of the humiliating phrases really well and we both laughed so much, thank you for that!
I am a female so I don’t hear these things but I do know that he does. He often tells me how his day went if he’s the only one with our boy and one time I remember he was taking him to the park (using a baby stroller). When they were sat on a bench, some older woman came up to them and said ”where’s the child’s mother” – as if he shouldn’t be left alone with his own child. He felt quite hurt by that comment. I just hate it when people have so much prejudice towards fathers. There are some very caring and amazing dads that unconditionally love their little ones. We should always have equal rights but sadly that doesn’t reflect within society and in the things that random people say.
So, next time when you see a dad and a child together without a mother near, be careful what you say. They have feelings too.
LOL. In my house, when I had my first baby, it was immediately clear which parent was the “clueless” one. Moi! The irony is that I grew up in a big family and my husband was an only child. When his mom visited us to get to know the grandkids, even she was surprised at how well he handled the kids. Feeding them, changing diapers, bathing them, reading to them, playing with them, disciplining them. I don’t know where he got the skills, but I was sure he had them!
My sister-in-law got really sick one time and her husband was out of town. I sent my husband over to help her out. She called me on the phone to say thank you and in the conversation, she remarked “Clearly! Your husband helps you out with the kids.” By her comments I knew she meant: ‘Clearly! My brother (her husband) did not!’ 🙂
I like your point of view, still, I would like someone to tell me what a good dad I am for my kid, or how on earth do I manage. This would make more confident in my skills as a dad.
I work from home. My wife has a part-time teaching job at a college. When she goes to work, I look after the baby. When she comes back, she always complains that I never do it right. But that’s ok. She is the mom and knows best about the baby. However, when other people say such thing to me, I don’t like it.
When it comes to parenting, a lot of people undermine the role of dad. I hate this stereotype.