In honor of Father’s Day, and after an extra-long year of pandemic parenting together, I want to talk about all the reasons why my husband is not a goofy, bumbling caricature dad like you see in commercials, TV shows, and movies. You know the stereotype—he tries to make the kids lunch but he doesn’t know where mom keeps the lunch boxes; he forgets to pick Sally up from ballet AGAIN; he dresses Stevie in shorts even though it’s winter; when he actually goes to the grocery store, he doesn’t know where to find anything; he uses bleach on the dark load.
Personally, I don’t really know many dads that fit this stereotype. I know there are plenty of less-than-stellar dads out there in the world, but most of the dads I know are involved, compassionate, capable partners and caretakers. They aren’t silly and unhelpful fools. Of course, overall, there’s still an imbalance in women taking on more work in the home even when taking on more work outside of the home—the “second shift” scenario. As a society we’ve got some work to do, but that’s a topic that can fill its own post (or book).
The bumbling dad stereotype is so pervasive though, that people can’t help but to bring it up in conversation naturally. When my daughter was little and I was going out of town for my now sister-in-law’s bachelorette party and people curiously asked, “Where will Kate be!?” I said, “Home with my husband.” People responded with varying degrees of, “Do you think he can handle it?!” and “Are you worried?!” and “Do you think it will go OK?!”
Of course I wasn’t worried! He’s Kate’s parent! In this unprecedented time of parenting during COVID-19, where we’ve spent endless time in care-taking mode without breaks and tackled hybrid kindergarten, I’m even more grateful that my teammate is so great.
So, in honor of Father’s Day, here are eight reasons why my husband is the most capable and excellent dad ever. After living through quarantine and virtual school, I realized even more how lucky I am to have a partner with these qualities.
8 Reasons My Husband is the Best Dad Ever
1. He’s the most fun parent on the planet.
He brings a lot of laughter and much needed levity to the mundane-ness of everyday life. When you’ve been quarantined with a chatty six-year-old while trying to work a full time job, having someone around that can still make you chuckle is priceless.
2. He’s the most patient person ever.
The frustrations of young children (refusing to wear shoes, refusing to eat dinner, taking, forever to get ready in the morning) can get me a little worked up. He’s a calming force that tells me to just relax, breathe, and remember that everything eventually will pass. I’ve been calmed down from the point of tears after a frustrating remote learning day.
3. If it wasn’t for him we would all starve or have a carb-exclusive diet.
He is a master in the kitchen whether you want him to make you homemade sushi or a crème brulee. When restaurants were closed and holiday gatherings were cancelled, I felt like the luckiest person on the planet that I still got to eat so well. Anyone that knows me knows that when left to my own devices I ONLY make spaghetti.
4. He’s a master at bedtime.
No one else on earth can convince a feisty kid that it really is time for bed better than my husband.
5. He’s the best road trip partner.
He always does all of the driving, which is awesome, because I hate driving long distances and I just get to sit in the passenger seat and nap.
6. He keeps our financial life together.
I can be frivolous and have a (very) frequent tendency to overspend. He keeps our financial goals on track the best he can considering how often I seem to derail them.
7. He’s got a strong enough stomach to handle a lot of ickyness.
I’ve seen him tackle some bathroom messes that I can’t even write about without starting to feel nauseous.
8. But mostly, he’s my biggest ally.
When I had Kate it was always my plan to come back to work and to finish the MBA I had started. He’s always been the first person cheering me on and encouraging me to go after my goals. Between everything I want to do, I can be busy, but his involvement and unwavering support keeps everything moving along at home. After everything we’ve been through since last March, I’ve only been more impressed by the teammate in my corner.
So, happy Father’s Day to my wonderful co-parent. You are just as much in the trenches as I am, handling Chromebook issues, dinner arguments, and trips to the park. You are a dad who doesn’t expect applause or praise for dealing with timeouts or putting our daughter down for a nap, because you know these are just everyday parenting duties that we both should be handling. You’ve been so generous with taking over duties when the constant togetherness of quarantine is getting to me and I need to sit outside for a break.
The posts I linked to above talk about the phenomenon of dad being portrayed as an “accessory to parenting” but in our family, being a parent has never just been your part-time gig. Not everyone is as lucky to have such a great co-parent, and we appreciate everything that you do.