The other week I was in the village without the kids when I bumped into a friend. When she asked me where the kids were, and I told her that they were at home with my husband, her immediate response was some sort of funny joke about ‘how useless Dads are at coping with the kids!’ I annoyingly found myself, without even thinking about it, responding with some sort of joke agreement!
However, in fact my husband is far from useless and is awesome with the kids. We are both very different personalities and have our clear strengths and roles, like he is super patient when parenting our kids with poor attitudes, and I can handle poo, vomit and that kind of thing better. (Bless him; he gags so easily, that he can’t even change code-brown nappies without chucking!)
But why do we paint men as useless, befuddled idiots whenever they are in charge of kids or all things domestic?
My daughter and I had a Girl’s Day Out today for her birthday present. This included nails, hair, lunch and a film! This was a massive treat for both of us! And this meant that my amazing husband watched our four boys all day! (Ok, to be honest, the 3 and 5 year old were out for some of the day with my amazing Mother-in-Law and the oldest is 14 so he helps loads and in pretty independent but never the less…)
We left this morning for a full day out with my husband holding the 3 month old and over half of the laundry still needing to be washed and sorted. Did he look a little overwhelmed when I left….yes…..did he look a little relieved when I returned this evening….yes.
However, and here is the thing, he coped fine, the boys were all fed and still alive, the laundry was almost all washed and the house wasn’t a complete tip. More importantly, my boys had time with just Dad. Did they watch more DVDs than usual…probably…would I have been able to complete more jobs around the house with having the boys home…yup. But I do this all the time! I only teach 3-4 days a week and then I am home with the kids.
I am more productive at the whole stay at home with the kids because I do it more….I’m more practised.
My husband has loads of responsibly and works super hard at his job. He goes to London a lot for conferences and runs many training events. Last year I had the chance to go to London for the day, on a conference. It was really nice for the day…but different. I had to get an early train, make sure I got off at the right station and so on. I found that I had to put more effort in because I don’t normally travel to London, for work, on my own.
It was fun but different. The same when I lead any sort of training…I don’t normally do it, so it’s not as smooth as it would be for someone who does it daily. The same goes with my husband.
Working Dads will of course be a little overwhelmed when left to do solo parenting, but most Moms would be overwhelmed to be left doing our husbands jobs for a day!
This negative dialog of Dads being ‘useless’ isn’t overly fair or helpful. So in future I am going to try to stand up for my multi-talented father of my kids whenever I hear another stereotypical ‘Useless Dad’ comment…Hope it catches!