I’m just going to come out and say it:
Dads get a bad rap. And I’m not talking about that sandwich-thing I once bought from a street vendor during a heat wave.
Proper food temperature is important, people.
On television and in movies, dads are often portrayed as buffoons incapable of taking care of their kids. The response to families where the dad is the main caregiver who stays home is often one of surprise.
But dads get a bad rap mostly because oftentimes it’s us, the moms, not giving enough credit where credit is due.
Years ago a friend of mine was going away on a business trip and she was worried about how her husband would feed the kids. So worried, in fact, that she contemplated bringing the kids along.
Think about that. She was going on a business trip where she was staying in a hotel and sleeping in A KING SIZE BED WITH NOBODY ELSE IN IT and was contemplating bringing her kids.
A room where you can sleep without anyone waking you up in the middle of the night is practically a free ticket to paradise. And unlike Eddie Money’s Two Tickets To Paradise, you’re alone and you can order room service and someone else is making your bed for you. There's probably a place to get a massage too.
Nobody’s waited longer than me Eddie; nobody’s waited longer than me.
She’s thinking about bringing her kids along and I basically survived from ages 4 to 14 eating nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, tomato soup and saltine crackers for lunch. And not the whole wheat, unsalted saltines you can find on the grocery shelves today. I’m talking about the bleached-out-all-of-the-nutrients-high-salt-heart-attack-in-a-box-crackers.
To give credit where credit was due, my parents tried to get me to eat something else but their interventions were too late. I was hooked on that tomato soup like heroin. Nothing short of a kidnapping and 21-day stay at rehab was going to change that.
What can I say? I was a latch-key kid who was responsible for my own lunch.
I have often made jokes about how my husband does things around the house and with the kids but I joke because he is quite literally an awesome husband and dad, and almost everything is said in jest. Almost. I still can’t get over the great vomit/Tupperware incident of 2010.
My husband isn’t a “helper” when it comes to the kids - he’s their dad. He loves them as much as I do and he's as capable of taking care of them just as well as I am. I know this because I let him take care of both our sons from the moment they were born.
I mean, I sort of did. I was a bit of a control freak in the beginning but then I had PPD and went crazier than a shit house bat about three weeks after our first son was born. Having a baby at our house goes something like this:
Take baby home
Get put on meds
Have husband work all day, come home, and do all the night feeds for fear of wife going crazier due to sleep deprivation
We have it down to a science now.
My husband not only stepped up to the plate, he cleaned it, fed it, wiped it, bathed it, and walked it around in a Baby Bjorn for countless hours in the middle of the night.
The simple truth of the matter is we don’t get pissed off at our husbands because they can’t do it. We get pissed off because he doesn't do it the way we like it done so we take the job away from him and then complain to our friends he can’t do anything.
If you want to see how capable your partner is you can take the go crazy route that I did, which I don’t recommend at all because it’s really not that much fun.
OR…if you’re guilty of not letting your partner partake in the parenting because you don’t like the way he does it, I’m about to give you the best piece of advice you’ll get today:
Just because your partner doesn’t do things the way you do it? It doesn’t mean it’s wrong. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, or take care of a kid, as the case may be.
You don’t like how he changes a diaper? Go to another room so you don’t have to watch.
He puts your toddler in outfits you don’t like? Be glad your kid is in clean-ish clothes (they’re never really “clean” because, toddler).
He roughhouses with the kids instead of playing board games? Go binge watch some shows on Netflix.
He feeds them things you wouldn’t necessarily serve? I kept the tomato soup industry in business for ten years and I’m still here to tell the tale.
Let him be the dad he can and wants to be. And more importantly, let him do it the way he chooses to do it.
Then hopefully there will come a time when men on TV are portrayed as the capable dads they really are.
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