11 Things People Worship Stay-At-Home Dads For That Stay-At-Home Moms Do Every Single Day

Ad failed to load

A few weeks after giving birth, I was scrolling through one of my online stay-at-home mom (SAHM) groups when I came across a photo a mom shared, with horror, from another Facebook page. It was a picture of three men standing by three young kids in strollers at the mall. Literally, they were just standing by kids, but the original comments were effusive in their praise — "Fathers of the year!" "Role models for the next generation!"— all for just happening to be in the presence of children. People worship stay-at-home dads (SAHDs) for things SAHMs do every day, usually with no fanfare or even with significant criticism.

For moms, our every choice is scrutinized. If that had been a picture of three moms, the comments would have picked apart everything; from whether the kids were buckled into the strollers properly, to questioning why the kids were even in strollers instead of being worn (though if it was a photo of three babywearing moms, somebody would have said something about that, too), to freaking out over the fact that there were bottles (potentially filled with — gasp! — formula!) visible in the shot. However, because they're guys it's all fine, and they're basically heroes for breathing the same air as children. Seriously?

I sincerely hope that someday people will recognize that it's totally normal and worthwhile for anyone to care for any member of their family or community, rather than assuming that caring for children (and everyone else in our lives) is women's default role in life, but that same (or often, far less) care constitutes a giant favor when it's done by anyone else. It's insulting to SAHDs when people assume that every little thing they do is a cute attempt at courtesy for their families, rather than real-deal parenting. It also devalues the hard work SAHMs do day in and day out, often without acknowledgement or support, when people act like the following things are somehow a big deal when men do them, but are just expected of us when we do them.

Ad failed to load

Reading To Their Kids


Should it be a big deal when dads buy books with their kids or take them to story time at the library? Probably not. Is it a big deal when dads buy books with their kids or take them to story time at the library? Yes.

Changing Diapers


When my husband was home with us after I gave birth to my son, he put himself in charge of diapers because that made the most sense. "You're in charge of what goes in, so I'm in charge of what comes out." Everyone who heard that was like, "Oh, wow! He's a keeper!"

Like, yeah, I was planning on keeping him anyway, but also, why is it a giant deal if he changes diapers for a child I made with my body and feed with my body? It should be weird if he didn't do that.

Going To The Grocery Store


I love going to the grocery store in the middle of the day, because there's usually not that many other people around. However, I've never once been stopped and praised for buying food so my family doesn't starve. This frequently happens to SAHDs (and really, any guy who goes shopping with a baby, as my husband can attest).

Ad failed to load

Preparing Decent Meals


SAHMs are judged for what we feed our kids literally from birth — "Breast or bottle?" — and at every step of the food preparation process. Purchasing organic baby food instead of making it? Tsk tsk. Meanwhile, if dads pack balanced lunches or prepare moderately healthy snacks, they're heroes.

Preparing Any Food At All, Really


Women are "keepers" if we cook well. Men are "keepers" if they don't leave a trail of broken dishes behind them as they burn the house down every time they set foot in the kitchen.

Sacrificing Paying Work


Taking time off from paid work to care for children is a sacrifice no matter who does it (and it really shouldn't be). But when women take leave or quit their jobs after having children, it's treated like a normal thing. When men do it, it's treated (by some) like a giant favor to his partner and her career.

(To be fair, some dads do also catch flack for this from even less enlightened folks, who think men caring for children is somehow beneath them.)

Ad failed to load

Challenging Social Norms


Prioritizing care work over professional pursuits, and family over money, is a radical act (as well as a huge privilege, in many cases) by anyone who does it. But because we have this weird assumption that women should do that, we lose sight of how much it actually goes against the grain in our money-over-everything society, no matter who does it.

Memorizing The Routines And Logistics Their Kids Rely On


When SAHMs memorize and anticipate everyone's needs, tastes, preferences, schedules, special requests, appointments, and the like, it's not noteworthy. It's just assumed, unremarked upon, taken for granted. When SAHDs do it, it's like they're wizards. "You remembered a thing, without being reminded eighty times? Your family is so lucky to have you!" Gag.

Supporting Their Partners


Women are told we're "lucky" when we have partners who actually do things for our families besides pay bills. Men are not told this when their female partners do that same work, unless it's done to Martha Stewart levels of obvious perfection. If then.

Ad failed to load

Volunteering At Their Kids' School


There's an episode of Blackish where Andre brings in cupcakes to his kids' school and everyone basically falls all over themselves praising him for it, even though moms do stuff like that all the time. I couldn't even finish watching it in one sitting, because the double standard was way too real for my beleaguered postpartum soul when it aired.

Basically Just Deigning To Take Care Of Their Own Kids


By gushing over dads who volunteer at school, or play with their kids, or put them to bed, or care for them when they're sick or any of that, people reveal (and send the message to kids listening to all this) that they consider mothering to be mandatory, while fathering is optional. It's not. It'd be nice if all parents got genuine appreciation and less judgment for what we do; even better if parents got some meaningful public support. But it makes no sense to set the bar so low for SAHDs, and set it so high for SAHMs. It's insulting to them, and exasperating for us.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

15 Baby Names With Unique Nicknames, So Your Family Has Options

I love a good diminutive name, also known as a nickname. I believe I’m partial to them because of my own name, Abigale, but I go by Abi. And since they’re both uniquely spelled, everyone thinks my name is pronounced Ah-bee for some reason — but even …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills