Dads Aren’t Puppy Dogs: Pour Your Heart Out

Who’s a good boy? Who’s such a good boy?

*head pat, head pat*

Oh isn’t he cute?

Watch the tricks he can do.

He can…

Take care of his kids. 

Imagine that. A dad, who takes care of his kids.

We better give him a treat for this because this is amazing. He’s such a good boy!

What…. the….

Y’all. My husband is a good dad. He does take care of his family. He plays with his kids, doesn’t think it’s the end of the world if he has to take care of them on his own for a few days, and would never dream of saying that he’s babysitting them since he’s PARENTING them. I don’t need to leave him a huge to-do list when I’m gone because he’s aware that the kids need to do things like go to school and eat dinner. He’s not helpless.


And my younger brother is a kick-ass dad, he really is. He and his wife arranged their schedules so that either one of them or one of the grandmas is there every day to take care of their daughter. But not much is said about when it’s the mom who is home with the baby or even the grandmas. But wow, my brother is home with his baby daughter by himself for one day every week and he takes her places like the zoo and baseball games. So, WOW, what a great dad!

I’m not knocking my husband or my brother- they rock as dads. And I do think it’s important they know that.

But it confuses me  that when a dad does something that a mom does, people coo and act like it’s the biggest deal in the world, like he’s a puppy performing a trick. It reminds me very much of Chris Rock’s “Whatcha want, a cookie?” (terrible language alert)

There are too many stereotypes out there that dads are useless, that they aren’t any help with the kids, that they couldn’t possibly handle the kids without mom around, that they just fumble their way through parenting.

Shouldn’t that stereotype have died sometime back in the last century? There are plenty of dads who do their fair share of the parenting. And as for the fumbling through it part of parenting, dads hardly have a monopoly on that.

Dads shouldn’t be ignored when they are doing a good job parenting… a “thanks” feels good. By all means, share how your husband is a fantastic dad and be sure to get him a nice Father’s Day present to thank him.  Someone thank me for getting my kids up and out the door on time for this last week of school- it’s been torture, so I’d take appreciate some thanks and a gift.

But it shouldn’t be so shocking when a dad is…. well…. doing something a dad should.


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  1. says

    Ah, this makes me laugh because you make such good points – all true! I’m blessed that my hubby is a great dad, too. And BRAVO for surviving that last week of school, Shell! It was brutal over here for a while, too. You did it! THANK YOU! :)
    Becky Kopitzke recently posted..Just Have Faith (Well, Duh!)My Profile

    • Shell says

      Two more days of school and it’s summer! This week is rough. My husband is currently at school, having lunch with the kids. Awww…. but no one awww’ed at me when I volunteered every week… see, just another example! 

    • Shell says

      My husband got much better once the kids got older. He wasn’t clueless, but I do think babies were harder for him. 

    • Shell says

      I do, too, unfortunately. But I’m hoping that by this point in time, they are more the exceptions than the rule. 

  2. says

    You are right on the money with this. I see my hubs get all kind of kudos for doing stuff that I’m expected to do. A couple of my male coworkers talk about babysitting my kids all the time.

    Drives. Me. Nuts. Now, off to get my man a cookie! Not!

  3. says

    I was thinking about this the other day I was with a group of moms and discussing a possible night out or lunch out without kids and so many were like, “oh I couldn’t possibly leave her/him with my husband” or “my husband could never do x, y and z”.  And I just don’t get it, Dads are a huge part of this parenting equation and we should stop acting like they can’t do the job. 
    Julia recently posted..Summer 2014 Reading ListMy Profile

    • Shell says

      I don’t get it either. The only real challenge was back when I had a baby who refused a bottle and needed me to eat. But other than that, my husband could figure it out and I never understood the moms who had to ask their husbands if it was okay to leave the kids with them. 

    • Shell says

      Things were different. And my husband grew up mostly with just his mom. It just seems like by this point in time, we should have moved past that. 

    • Shell says

      They’re supposed to be equal partners in parenting. I do try to thank my husband for some things but other times, I don’t because I don’t want to make it seem like he’s doing something extraordinary. 

  4. says

    I totally agree with you.
    I think the reason people make a big deal of dads doing the kind of parenting that moms do day in day out, is that it was actually not that common, say 30-40 years ago. For example, my father never changed a diaper, or fed us kids a bottle. He went out to work, he came home for dinner, sometimes, he was there to say goodnight. Unfortunately, some people’s mindsets haven’t changed since the 70’s. 
    Alison recently posted..The TruthMy Profile

    • Shell says

      It just feels like we should have moved past that by now, you know? If we can accept that moms are now more than just moms and they go out and have full-time jobs, then we should be able to let go of the dad stereotype from that time period and expect him to be a capable dad. 

  5. says

    I totally do agree with you, yet I think there definitely has been cultural shifts in what a dad does.  I grew  up in a home where my father worked hard, taught us all to work hard, came home and like JDaniel said, read the paper and that was kind of it. It was more of the cultural norm for the father to be just the bread winner; not that is was right (it wasn’t).  
      As society has shifted and changed with it being acceptable for women to be in he workplace etc, expectations have definitely changed and so there is still some of that wow and surprise factor when men really parent.  I believe men should be commended for when they parent well but so should women.
       Sadly somehow within the feminism movement, it seems there has been this notion of women are so powerful and men  are the weak/dumb ones that just provide entertainment (look at so many sitcoms).  I think true feminism should be us all building each other up, men and women so we can feel free to take on the rolls we want and all are celebrated and built up, including if mom wants to be a stay at home mom.  
      But I am obviously getting a bit sidetracked- I have obviously been thinking about this a lot lately-hehe sorry.  But yes, men can and should parent and they shouldn’t be awarded a trophy for every time they do it; we should all just be working together to help each other be better people and reach our full potential. 
    Emmy recently posted..Why You Have More Than One KidMy Profile

    • Shell says

      I love your comment. It really wasn’t all that long ago that dads weren’t expected to be involved. But I feel like since we’ve moved on(mostly) from the stereotype of women from that same time period(when they just stayed at home and rarely worked) then we should be able to move past the male stereotype, too. I do feel like sometimes there’s been some squashing of males in order to build up women. I see that sometimes as a mom to only boys- a lot of girl power, girls can do anything, but then boys are looked down on. I wish we could change this. 

  6. says

    Excellent points! How sad is it that our culture treats men as stupid-idiots who need a treat for doing something good. If we treat our daughters as princesses, shouldn’t we think of our men/boys as knights in shining armor? 3 Cheers here for a post up-lifting our men! (and 3 cheers for you getting through that last week of school)
    bluecottonmemory recently posted..Father’s Day for the FatherlessMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Yes! We talk girl power- but there’s boy power, too. Build up females… AND males. 

  7. says

    I haven’t written a pour your heart out post in a long time, but with this one, I immediately thought of you. So I was glad it matched up with the PYHO timing.

    For your post, I’m embarrassed to say that we can be a little too old-fashioned in this regard. My husband cares for the kids when I go to BlogHer, and that’s for an entire week. And he and I both know he’ll be great. The last time, he even made apricot jam out of all the ripe apricots in our yard.

    That said, he is vastly relieved when I coordinate outfits for the kids ahead of time, and put a meal planning menu on the fridge. It’s just the sort of thing that puts him over the edge. Otherwise, he is amazing and has this dad thing down pat. :-)
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  8. says

    One of my numerous pet peeves is when someone says a father is “babysitting” his kids. You babysit other people’s kids, not your own. I totally agree that fathers should not get special notice for doing the same thing a mother does. It is both of our jobs to do and I sure don’t get any parades celebrating it when I do it.
    Crystal recently posted..It’s Not That I Don’t Care…My Profile

  9. says

    Nicely stated! I would like to add that the other dimension of the confounding ideology of fathers is the societal biological expectation that mothers are inherently better caregivers than fathers. It sounds like you and many of your readers have elevated your thinking but society as a whole still considers mothers to be the “natural” caregiver. Thus, men who prove proficient much less committed to nurturing and caring for their children are seen as some oddity worthy of additional praise. Until we move to a gender free society, men will continue to receive the condescending “puppy dog” treatment.  On the other hand, worthy mothers will be under-appreciated and the remaining mothers will be thought as being more natural at parenting than fathers.
    Nathaniel A. Turner recently posted..5 Ways GREAT Fathers Share A Universal Parenting CreedMy Profile

  10. says

    I could not possibly agree with you more. It has driven me crazy for the last 7 years when anyone acts surprised that my husbad – gasp – actually parents his own children. My biggest aggravation was the first year I went to a work conference as a parent and everyone was shocked that I left my husband alone with a 6 month old for a week. “How can he possibly do it by himself?” Um the same way I could!! 
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  11. says

    I love this. The whole idea of dads being incompetent is so offensive. And acting like they ran a marathon when they just made dinner… it’s crazy. Thanks for sharing!
    Becoming SuperMommy recently posted..WaitingMy Profile

  12. says

    YES. Yes to all of this. My husband is the same – a great dad, not at all helpless, a great cook, etc. I can’t stand it when people act all surprised if I’m out somewhere on a weekend or something and my husband is home with all three girls by himself. They act like it’s so amazing that he’s doing that, when I do it every freaking day. So silly. Anyway, I’m glad to have found your blog – thanks for a great post!
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  13. says

    This is so true. My husband helps a lot with the children and around the house, even after he spends long days at work. When others see it, they are amazed…or they look at my like I’m not doing my part. Oh, well. Can’t please everyone. 
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