Like it or not, and even in the year 2018, moms are still the default parent. We're automatically expected to do everything from changing diapers and being the main point of contact for school, to driving our kids to doctor appointments and facilitating visits with grandparents. At the same time, dads are treated like rock stars for doing the bare minimum, and given a pass when it comes to accomplishing daily parenting duties. I thought this was "normal" until I met my current husband, and learned there are things every grown-ass dad does without thinking. After all, gentlemen, this isn't rocket science.
I'm not even talking about the difficult parts of parenting. I don't expect my partner to handle things like a medical emergencies or life-altering decisions on his own. In those instances, our children need both parents to be engaged at the very same time. I do, however, expect him tackle daycare drop-off, offer to stay home with a sick kid, or handle bedtime all by himself and so I can take a damn shower every once in a while. Unfortunately, for some dads — like my ex — these tasks seem way harder than they actually are. I can count on one hand the number of times my ex-husband actually changed a poop-filled diaper. Instead, he would wait to see if I would do it first and, more often that not, I did. He didn't take our kids to the doctor, or managed bedtime, or made them breakfast in the morning. It was frustrating, because I knew he was capable of being an engaged parent. He just didn't want to be.
I am happy to say that my husband and I have found a rhythm in our relationship and in regards to our parenting. He can do anything I can do on autopilot. Hell, sometimes he's better at a parenting task than I am (shh, don't tell him). Some dads get credit for being awesome when they are really just average, and some are actually amazing at being dads, without even thinking about it. So with that in mind, and if you're wondering where your parenting partner falls on the spectrum, here are a few things dads just automatically do, because duh.
Changes Dirty Diapers
I can't tell you how frustrating it is to come home and realize that your baby has been sitting in a poop-filled diaper for who knows how long. Grown-ass dads take care of sh*t. Literally.
Gets Up With The Baby
There's nothing sexier to a new mom than a partner who voluntarily gets out of bed to soothe a crying baby at 3:00 a.m and without being asked. Grown-ass dads don't pretend to be asleep while their baby is crying so their partner is forced to get every damn time. No, they realize that they're in this whole "raising a baby thing" 50/50, and that includes losing just as much sleep as your other half.
Grown-ass dads don't assume that their partners are responsible for putting food on the table, on high-chairs, and in bottles for three meals a day. They will gladly come home and start dinner, and without even having to be asked.
Takes The Day Off When His Kid Is Home Sick
It is so frustrating when it's assumed that mom will always be the one to stay home with kids when they are sick. Grown-ass dads offer to stay home, too, or at least don't assume that they are off the hook and their partner's job will be the one to suffer.
Takes Baby To The Doctor
Taking your kids to the doctor can be scary, but it certainly isn't difficult (at least, for most people who have insurance and access to transportation). Grown-ass dads help manage their kids' health. The same goes for giving them medicine when they are sick, giving them baths, and making sure they brush their teeth. It's not rocket science, people.
Communicate With Their Kids' School
A father is just as capable of communicating with his kids' school about things like report cards, absences, conferences, and special events as the mom is. It's not like moms have super secret "talk to teachers" powers that some how give them a leg up. So why the hell should moms always get the memos about school dress-up days or missing homework? Or always have to be the one to manage days off from school? It's sexist AF, and I, for one, am not here for it.
Adds Items To The Grocery List
I hate it when my husband asks me to remember that we need milk, eggs, or coffee. Or worse, asks me to add it to a list. In my perpetual state of sleep deprivation, there's virtually no chance I will remember everything that he mentions in between trips to the store. I am not his secretary. Besides, how hard is it to add things to our shared grocery list app? It's not hard at all, and it's way more effective than adding list-making to my already-full to-do list.
Grown-ass dads are fully capable of putting children to bed for the night. My husband is actually so much better at bedtime than I am.
Gets Kids Ready For School
Grown-ass dads manage morning wake-up, and even make sure that school lunches are made, hair is done, teeth are brushed, homework is packed, and shoes are found. Yes, before the bus arrives.
Gives His Kids' Mom A Break
Most importantly, I think, grown-ass dads step up when their partner is in need of a break. It's not hard to notice when she's had a rough day, or needs an extra five minutes of sleep. They tag themselves in and fill in the gaps, as a co-parent and partner, when they are needed (and, sometimes, even when they aren't).
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.