Parenting Life

Stop Shitting On Dads. Enough With Dad Bashing

I’m a great dad. I wholeheartedly know this. Maybe you feel that’s arrogant, but that’s kind of the point. Even in today’s age where hearing someone say “stay-at-home-dad” doesn’t really raise an eyebrow, I still see so many jokes and stories celebrating dads for doing simple parenting tasks. Look, I’m really easy going, so I find some of these to be humorous, but it is pretty pathetic how they routinely make dads up to be bumbling fools. Stop shitting on dads cause like me, most of us love being a dad, and are also pretty good at this whole parenting thing.

Mom Bashing versus Dad Bashing

I (and other dads) shouldn’t receive any special celebration or praise for being a great parent. I’m saying to stop bashing dads cause I believe dads are just as capable as moms. We as dads are simply doing what we should be doing. There’s no need to praise us just as I wouldn’t praise my students for doing homework and paying attention in class. You’re a student! That’s what you’re supposed to do!

Let’s be clear, mom bashing occurs too. But mom bashing and dad bashing differ greatly. Mom bashing is usually about the way moms raise their kids. For example, bashing moms for breastfeeding or bottle feeding, crying it out versus some other sleep philosophy, or feeding routines and habits. The list of topics go on and on. The bashing is essentially differing opinions on styles of parenting. There’s an uppity air of shaming moms for not doing more or doing the “in” stuff. For instance, I’m feeding my child organic and trendy foods and you’re shoving a pouch in their face?

Mom bashing isn’t about incompetence but almost the opposite. It’s like moms are trying to outdo one another with their knowledge and parenting skills. Dad bashing on the other hand, is largely centered on incompetence or lack of care. For example, having no clue on how to change a diaper, being helpless when baby cries, or being completely unaware his child sitting next to him is doing something dangerous. Basically, dads don’t know how to parent or just don’t want to.

Interesting Data on Dads (and Moms)

Statistically, moms spend more time caring for children than dads. This is not surprising since there are still far more stay-at-home moms than dads. Even in households where both mom and dad work full-time, moms still generally spend more time on child care. Part of this is due to the fact that even when both work full-time, it’s still more common for dads to work more hours and be more career focused. I’m happy to say that in our household, my wife and I are very equal time wise in both work and child care.

Pew Research Center has an excellent article, Raising Kids and Running a Household: How Working Parents Share the Load, that has some great and interesting data. One particular data table, which I highlighted below, shows the division of labor in households with two full-time working parents. I found it interesting that in 4 out of the 5 situations, “share equally” was either tied for or had the highest response percentage. This shows that in today’s modern, family household, dads often share parenting duties and responsibilities equally with moms. This supports the notion that dads are indeed involved and not so incompetent.

Division of Labor with Two Full-Time Working Parents
(Who Does More? Mom, Dad, or Share Equally)
% of parents in such households saying who does moreEqualMomDad
Managing children’s schedules/activities39%54%6%
Taking care of children when they’re sick47%47%6%
Handling household chores, responsibilities59%31%9%
Disciplining children61%20%17%
Playing or doing activities with children64%22%13%

The Pew Research Center has another great article with 8 facts about American dads that’s worth a read.

Why the Dad Bashing

Like most stereotypes, there are elements of truth to them. Dad bashing is no different. The dynamics have changed a lot as there was a time when dads were far less involved than today. For example, dads spent 3 times less time on child care back in 1965. A study back in 1982 showed that 43% of dads never changed a diaper! By 2000, that figure was down to 3%. That number is likely even lower now. With such a drastic shift in the involvement of dads, it’s understandable where dad bashing comes from.

Contrary to what one may think, dads often contribute to dad bashing. There are so many posts out there from dads that highlight the fails and hilarity of child care such as changing a diaper or dressing their child. Sure, moms post these moments too, but the effect is different. Since there is more of an expectation that dads don’t know what they are doing, these types of posts reinforce this thinking, which is not as much the case with moms.

I think as the dynamics have shifted, there have been “growing pains” for dads so to speak. So, in a way, the incompetent dad and dad bashing isn’t surprising. But, as we’ve progressed further into this shift and dads continually take on larger child care roles, we begin to see less of this. At this point, the incompetent dad and dad bashing is getting a bit tired. Instead, we now see more dads sharing tips and being “experts” on parenting, which is quite refreshing.

Where Dad Bashing Goes From Here

The incompetent dad jokes and dad bashing in general will probably never fully go away. Obviously, there are gender defined roles that will always exist between men and women. Plus, no matter how dated, stereotype jokes don’t really ever go away. As I mentioned above though, as dads become increasingly involved in raising children, I do think these jokes will occur far less often. So before that happens, let’s look at a few dad bashing jokes and have a little good-hearted laugh. See, I told you I was easy going. Enjoy!

Pic showing dad joke saying, "You know that feeling of being able to site down when you're exhausted? Yeah, me either. I'm not a dad."
Pic showing dad joke saying, "Don't worry honey, I will wake up with the crying kids at 3am. Said no dad ever."
Pic showing onesie with arms and legs labeled with a note saying, "You can do this dad."

You can laugh at some more here at The Awesome Daily.

Your Thoughts and Experiences

Do you have your own thoughts, stories, or experiences when it comes to dad bashing? Feel free to share via the comments below.

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4 thoughts on “Stop Shitting On Dads. Enough With Dad Bashing

  1. Amen to that! Our family is very blessed to have my husband who is an amazing dad. He often thinks of things for the children that I would never think of. There is no way our family could have gotten through the past number of years without him being a great dad; doing what dads should do. We do however get a good kick out of some of these dad jokes hahaha.

  2. I appreciate this post so much. I’ve been a stay at home dad since May 2020. I get so tired of strangers “praising” me for doing something as simple as walking the dog with my kids in a stroller or going shopping at Target with them. It particularly frustrates me when I’m at the playground with my kids and some random mom goes “Looks like mom’s getting a break!” I’ve started saying “Nope, I’m a stay at home dad, I don’t get a break.” The most infuriating though are the influencer moms who post content about how dads are completely incapable of changing or feeding a baby, or know little to nothing about their kids because apparently dads don’t pay attention to their own children? Being a stay at home dad can be incredibly lonely too because, while there are plenty of stay at home mom groups out there, those don’t really exist for dads. It’s not lost on me when I see groups of moms at the playground walking away any time I get remotely close while I’m playing with my kids. I notice the moms from my kids’ preschool going to coffee dates or coming to pick up their kids from spending time together, and I never get an invite to that, because I’m not one of them. Being a stay at home dad is incredibly rewarding, but can also be isolating and lonely, and it’s just made worse by society’s idea that we’re incompetent and inactive in our kids’ lives.

    1. Timothy, I truly appreciate your comment. I never really thought about it, but you’re absolutely right that there are not dad groups the way there are mom groups. I can definitely imagine how it can feel isolated at times. Best of luck to you finding a good and supportive group of other dads (or moms). I’m sure you’re an amazing dad 🙂

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