It may be all fun and jokes, but dad bashing can have consequences. It can impact how you run your home and your child’s relationship with his dad.
Moms, we like to vent.
And we tend to vent about our spouses.
We rant on online forums about dads glued to the computer with baby propped on his lap. Or we harp on dads for messing up the nap schedule yet again. Even parenting books with “Just for Dads” sections assume ineptitude and lack of involvement.
The reason to vent may be valid. Your comments may be well-intentioned or funny. But dad bashing does little to resolve the issues we’re venting or laughing about to begin with.
Here’s why dad bashing needs to stop:
Denying dads their duties undermines their abilities. We refill the fridge and label every container before heading out to dinner with a friend. That sends the message that he can’t feed the kids on his own.
Or let’s say you want your partner to clean up around the house. Venting or rolling your eyes about him not doing enough does little to encourage him. Neither does criticizing or re-doing what he had just done according to your standards. Every one of us can’t be efficient if not given the opportunity—and the space to make mistakes—to try.
Dad bashing also prevents parents from working as a team. Parenting becomes a divide between the two key people who ought to work as a unit. Couples might even “keep tabs” of who did what and bristle when one feels like she’s doing more than the other.
Imagine the message we’re sending our kids about their dads. Whether said with humor or not, finding fault in fathers in front of children makes dad look bad. We don’t want our kids to assume their dads can’t handle a baby without mom around. Or that he’s simply the babysitter.
And for each complaint and task that we make fun of them for, the same could be said about us moms. I don’t install the car seats. Or take our recycling to the center every week. Or even make the bed. So it’s fine if my husband doesn’t puree baby food.
Occasional venting is okay. Sometimes I read online vents and chuckle in agreement. But if the issues dig deeper, so deep you find yourself fuming, then two things need to happen:
No heaving heavy sighs hoping he’ll get the hint. He won’t (he’ll just know you’re mad about something). Instead, discuss your concerns, with no defenses or accusations.
The best time to do this? When you’re both in a good mood. You’re more likely to talk and see each other’s perspectives when you’re calm.
Don’t disrespect him.
That’s your partner, and your children’s father. You can vent, but avoid saying things so terrible about him that you couldn’t say them to his face.
Don’t assume he can’t do the simplest things (hint: he can, he may just need time and the chance to do them). And communicate with the respect you would want to receive.
It’s a sad commentary when a dad receives a standing ovation because he put his daughter’s hair in a bun. I’m not surprised the folks marveled at him.
Hands-on fathers are sometimes a novelty.
When only 32% of fathers from dual-income households are performing the same as moms, we have work to do. We need to bump that number higher, where all dads are just as involved with kids as moms.
And we can start when we stop the dad bashing.
Want to read more? Check out these related topics:
- 8 Effective Ways to Involve Dads in the Household
- Should Dads Wake Up for Nighttime Feedings?
- The Double Standard of “Missing Out on Kids’ Childhood”
- “Are Dads the New Moms?”: The Generation of Hands-On Fatherhood
- Dads Are Co-Parents, Not Babysitters
What are your thoughts on venting or joking about our partners? Is it ever okay, or does even a tiny bit promote the stereotypical hands-off dad? Let us know in the comments!
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