My bedtime routine begins immediately after dinner, because my two kids will do whatever it takes to avoid sleep. Whether it's reading "one more book" or working on "forgotten" homework or needing just "one more sip" of water, getting my kids in bed takes forever. I don't expect constant praise for handling this monumental task, but when my husband has a proverbial parade thrown in his honor for doing the same, well, I get pissed. The things people worship about dads who handle bedtime that moms get zero credit for are ridiculous. After all, my husband is a parent, too.
Unfortunately, this unfair treatment isn't anything particularly new. My partner could do the bare minimum when it comes to child rearing and still be applauded and praised as "the best dad ever." But where's my praise for going above and beyond the bare minimum? Where's my applause for caring for my children every single day as I work from home? Why am I not enjoying constant praise for making something undeniably dull, like getting ready for bedtime, fun and exciting for my two children?
Of course, I know the answer to these infuriating questions: sexism. Moms are more often than not the "default" parents, so any effort coming from their partners is seen as "extra." Well, I'm sick of it. Moms who are working just as hard, if not harder, should be receiving the same amount of, if not more, praise. So with that in mind, here's what dads who chip in during bedtime are constantly praised for that us moms do every single day without the same amount of fan fair:
Their Ability To Calm Their Kids Down
Every night, right after dinner, I take two hyper, overly-tired, whiny kids and transform them into bedtime angels. It's no easy feat, my friends, but I manage. And since preparing them for bedtime is seen as just another one of my many responsibilities, this process often goes unnoticed.
But if their dad does the same, he's a wonderfully patient, committed father who takes the time to prepare his kids for bed. Um... what?
I'm not saying my husband isn't patient, especially during bedtime. This part of our day usually requires a kind of constant calm that only a parent can master. But you know who else is patient? Me. And not just at bedtime, but seriously every single moment of the day. I mean, you try working from home with two children.
Their Ability To Get Their Kids To Brush Their Teeth
Brushing my son's teeth takes a lot of upper body strength, my friends. He's mostly independent now and can do it himself, but only if the setup is solid (i.e. everything is laid out and ready, I supervise, etc.). And even then, there's likely globs of toothpaste everywhere. I handle tooth brushing 99 percent of the time, twice a day, every day, and no one says a damn thing. The one or two times his dad jumps into the bedtime routine to do it, however, people are ready to give him a medal. Just, no.
Their Willingness To Read To Their Kids
Setting aside some time to read to my children before they go to bed is great, to be sure, but it sure is exhausting. My son, for example, will constantly stop me mid-sentence to ask a slew of questions even the author couldn't possibly answer. Still, I press on and set apart the time for my son to enjoy some one-on-one reading time with his mom.
Now, If his dad reads the shortest book ever written then he's this saint of a husband and father who is undeniably invested in child's future. That's true, but, um, what about me?!
Their Willingness To Sing Bedtime Songs
Is it cute to hear a dad, or a mom, sing a song to their child before bedtime? Of course. But the idea that it's somehow *cuter* when a dad does it is, you know, annoying.
Their Bedtime Kisses
If you're a parent you know that you're not just giving your child a kiss goodnight. Oh no, you have to kiss their favorite toy and stuffed animal and whatever other lovey they rely on for comfort. This is mandatory, my friends, and it shouldn't be a surprise when a dad does it, too.
Their Willingness To Clean Up Afterwards
This is just called being an adult, people.