I'll be upfront out of the gate: sometimes, when I refer to my partner in front of our kids, I call him "daddy." I know a lot of you think that's creepy, but I don't. Despite your discomfort (which, I'll admit, I get) I have no plans to stop referring to him that way. Still, I see all of you. I see you and I care about you, you lithe and majestic squirrels, so I've come up with a handy list of names moms should call their partners instead of "daddy." You're welcome.
First, let me make a couple things clear so that, perhaps, you can understand why I don't think it's all that creepy. For starters, I'm not calling him "daddy" all the time. In fact, outside of the context of co-parenting, in front of our children, usually when I need something done for the children, I never refer to him as "daddy." In fact, I only call him that particular name in a situation like, "Daddy, can you hand our son that cup?" or, "Daddy, our daughter wants to play with you." It's performative — a way to cue our children in to show them how co-parents effectively communicate. It's also a nice audio cue for my husband to know that he's about to be asked to get into parenting mode (if he isn't already.)
Of course, if you're effectively communicating with your partner in front of your children they're going to pick up on those skills regardless of what you call each other, but this makes it a bit more intentional and conspicuous, just as "mommy has to go the bathroom" makes your own one-on-one communication more intentional and conspicuous. If I had to guess, I would hypothesize that we do this, probably unintentionally, because it mimics how children learning how to speak refer to themselves, i.e. in the third person.
But, OK, you find it weird. That's your prerogative. Here are some totally less weird alternatives to referring to your partner as "daddy."
I have it on good authority that there are some men (you know: true players) who love it when you call them Big Poppa. This nickname has a similar paternal vibe as "daddy," but incorporates the genius gravitas of one of the greatest rappers of all time. Your partner will love it, and when he looks at you, he will see a lady who should be having his baby.
Call your dude Steve! Not because his name is Steve or because you are referencing someone named Steve. I just think it would be funny to have a pet name that was actually an ordinary first name.
Mike Pence famously refers to his wife as "mother." It's not at all really, really weird and creepy, so why not try calling your partner "father?" Be sure you always say it in a staid, joyless, yet somehow lascivious manner. Basically try saying it with zero facial affect and only a slight glimmer of crazy in your eyes. For inspiration, go ahead and watch Silence of the Lambs, paying careful attention to how Hannibal Lecter says "Clarice."
Because a girl can dream. He's not even really my usual type, but damn if Thor doesn't stir some confusing adult feelings inside of me.
"My Sun & Stars"
Since it's such a family-friendly show, I figured it would be worthwhile to include a Game of Thrones inspired nickname on here for the father of your children. "Lord Husband" is also good if you are married to him, but "my sun and stars," the term of endearment Daenerys Targaryen uses for her Dothraki horse lord husband, Khal Drogo, doesn't rely on matrimony to work.
This also provides for a teachable moment; when your children ask where this nickname comes from, you can explain Dothraki culture. Like, for example, their propensity to conquer peaceful neighboring tribes through hideous violence! (Kidding, please don't talk to your children about that horror.)
This is especially useful for the times when you want to call him to do something for you or around the house. And, in accordance to the laws of Disney, aside from killing someone or making someone fall in love with you, he has to grant your wish. I also have to imagine that referring to him in this way is going to inspire lots of pop culture references and impressions from the '80s and '90s.
"Dark Lord" is general enough to be generically ominous and powerful, but also stirs images of Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, Lord Voldemort, and Steve Bannon. "Dark Lord" inspires just a touch of fear in your children as you call your partner. This works especially well if you use it to employ the age-old "wait until your father gets home" tactic. I imagine it would be much more effective if you say, "Wait until the Dark Lord gets home" or, "Do you want me to call the Dark Lord at work?"
My 2 year old loves her father, but she loves Daniel Tiger. I figure if I start calling my partner "Daniel Tiger" I can get her to do anything I want with no arguments or tantrums.
What a nice way to refer to someone who means so much to you. "Precious." An object, substance, or resource of great value; not to be wasted or treated carelessly. Here's the thing, though: only refer to him this way in your best Gollum voice. Call your children "hobbitses." Have manic arguments with yourself that result in a full-on mental breakdown.
See? Isn't this so much less creepy than referring to your partner as "daddy?"
Just low-key imply that your partner is a robot until your children are adults. Never come out and say it, but regularly drop hints. Like, "Hey Dadbot3000, can you use your specially designed mechanical grip to open this pickle jar?" or, "Don't forget to wear sun protection, Dadbot3000. You know what the heat does to your circuits."
If your kids start to grow confused and ask you about it, like, "Wait, is dad a robot?" say, "No, silly. What an absurd question!" then look around all shifty and nervous, like they're on to you.
I don't think I know a single man who wouldn't prefer to be called "Batman" to "daddy." This isn't about you or your kids or whether or not calling another adult "daddy" is creepy. This is about doing something nice for the menfolk.
Because everything is a competition, even parenthood. As such, I find it best to always find subtle ways to assert my dominance and superiority as "the winning parent." I find that referring to my partner in terms of his not being me is a great way to do that. This is all very healthy and not at all damaging to anyone involved.
OK, I actually super like this one. Really, is there a better way to describe co-parenting with someone?
Of course, "daddy" covers that pretty well, too. So you could always just stick to that if you want. Your call.