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 just as tired, stressed, and too sleep deprived to function as us moms. Yet we rarely, if ever, discuss the stereotypes about new dads that are totally true, and I think that in the name of equality it's time we bring everyone up to speed.
I would argue, however, that most everyone has heard the harmful stereotypes that paint dads as clueless buffoons incapable of caring for a newborn, much less supporting their partner. They’ll get praised for taking any part in their baby’s life, even if it's minuscule, and if they, say, put a diaper on backwards or don't know how to hold a baby, it's not indicitive of their parenting capabilities (like moms) but a cute sign they're trying and for dads, well, simply trying is more than enough.
Those stereotypes all let dads of the proverbial hook, and set up mom as the default parent. But there are some spot-on stereotypes about new dads that are worth discussing, and can actually paint dads as capable, engaged parents who can falter, struggle, and love their new babies just as much as new moms:
They Fall Asleep Mid-Sentence
Every new parent is extremely exhausted. The demands of an infant are plentiful, and for some reason it feels like they’re even more demanding at night.
You’ll know one of your coworkers is a new dad because he'll end up nodding off at his desk and, in general, they'll all trail off at some point and likely pass out in unlikely places.
They'll Forget Everything
It's the dad equivalent to "mommy brain," and it's real. It might not be as intense as what a new mom experiences, because dads don't have to deal with all the hormones shifting in their body.
Then again, it might be worse, since men tend to have worse memory than women, especially older dads.
They Will Grow A Daddy Beard
New dads who were once clean shaven will start looking like a werewolf more and more every day. Dads who already had beards will end up looking like Zack Galifinakis in The Hangover. And those who already had serious beards will eventually end up resembling Hagrid from the Harry Potter series.
They Have Mystery Stains On Every Shirt
Much like those mystery stains on a new mom's clothes, the new dad will certainly rock some of his own. This is especially true if his wardrobe is filled with white shirts, since we all know babies love spitting up on white shirts. Maybe it has to do with that whole "newborns only seeing in black and white at first" thing.
They Don't Brush Their Hair
Dad isn’t going to have time for brushing or styling, much less getting a decent haircut. If he showers, he’ll likely end up falling asleep with wet hair and getting some funky looking swirls on the back of his head. If he doesn’t shower, he’ll probably sport an oily look. Either way, if he was once the type to always add a little gel and make everything “just right,” he certainly won’t be now.
Much like new mom, new dad also doesn’t have time for a shower. So yeah, the new dad in your life might be a little... ripe. It’s cool, though. He knows where the Febreeze is. (Oh, come on. Like you’ve never resorted to spraying a pair of pants once in a while.)
They Rock What's Known As "Dad Bod"
Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but eating habits may change when you’re a new parent, and new dad’s are no different. Some dads might end up mainly sustaining on pizza and easy-to-order fastfood, in which case they may gain a little weight (the so-called “dad bod”).
On the flip side, some might be so exhausted they frequently forget to eat, and may shed some pounds. Either way, if he used to hit the gym regularly, odds are he doesn’t quite have the time for it anymore. That said, he also won’t get criticized for it the way it happens to new moms. #DoubleStandards
They Fall Madly In Love With Their Babies
When a new dad hangs out with his newborn, he's nothing but a walking pile of feelings. Even the “toughest”dudes usually melt into a puddle when their baby cracks a smile or makes a gurgle resembling a giggle. Check in on any new dad and see for yourself. Babies have a way of really changing a person, and it’s often for the better.