The top five things moms wished dads knew about sharing the load.
Published: May 14, 2020
By: Perry P. Perkins
A few months ago, before social distancing made such gatherings impossible, I joined in a conversation with some moms I know, and the topic turned to funny things their husbands had done while taking care of the kids. I was embarrassed to admit that, as a stay-at-home dad, I had pulled a few of these “no-brainers” myself.
As the list grew longer, and my face grew redder, I finally had to interrupt and ask them the following question:“So what one thing do you wish that Dad knew that would make your life easier?”
Four cups of coffee later, I folded up my notebook and dashed home to compose an email asking the same question. This I sent to a dozen moms, of various ages and all walks of life, and asked them to consider forwarding it to anyone else they thought might have an opinion.
I was amazed at the results — nearly 100 moms replied to that email!
Even more surprising was the lack of diversity in their answers. Most moms have a pretty short list of things they wished dads knew (whew!), and the top five are almost always the same:
- MOMS GET TIRED, TOO
If you’re paying attention, you’ll probably notice when Mom is needing a break. (Lots of heavy sighs, quiet and withdrawn, that ladle hitting you in the back of the head…)
Much of the time, moms need permission to care for themselves. So just having hubby say, “Baby, let me put the kids to bed,” can really fill her love tank. Plus, with all the bedtime stories, costume changes and “one more kisses,” bedtime is a great time for dads to deepen their relationships with their children.
- IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING NICE TO SAY…
Say it out loud … and in front of the kids! Letting the children know how much Mom does makes her feel appreciated in a whole new way.
Men who truly appreciate their partners (regardless of her role as a working mom or stay-at-home mom) will likely find them more willing to uphold that role without becoming bitter and, in turn, will share the joy of being appreciated.
Face it, guys, we love to be praised and told how great we’re doing, yet many times we forget to let the mothers of our children know that they are doing a fantastic job. Never pass up a chance to tell her how amazing she is. It’s also a great example for your little ones!
That’s right, get down there on the floor and stack blocks. Race cars across the kitchen floor … you know you want to! Play hide-and-seek or tag, or put on raincoats and go play in the rain. (Just be sure to clean up afterward!)
Moms love to see their men interacting with their babies! (Plus, you might be amazed to find that an hour of watching you playing on the floor and making silly noises is a major turn-on for her. Don’t ask, I don’t know why.)
- KEEP THE TANKS FULL
One mom replied, “Seems whenever I walk in, the kids are always hungry.”
So my advice is ASK THE KIDS IF THEY’RE HUNGRY! The smart (or, more likely, the experienced) dad will ask, and ask often.
Don’t wait for them to tell you, because they won’t until they’re at crisis level. Kids aren’t any fun when they’re hungry, and nothing will ruin Mom’s “free time” quicker than a house full of little grouches.
This isn’t rocket science, either. Boil some mac n’ cheese, grill some hot dogs, or if you really can’t find your way around the kitchen, nuke a couple of healthy TV dinners (the kind for dieters). A stack of paper plates and some plastic utensils will make clean-up a snap.
Which leads us to…
The No. 1 response (by far) when moms were asked what they wished dads knew…
- A CLEAN HOUSE TRUMPS ALL
Overwhelmingly, moms said that coming home to a clean house is the biggie!
One mom said, “My most favorite thing is that when I am gone for the weekend (after making sure the house is spotless), I come back to my clean and tidy home. It is a blessing!” The secret to keeping the place clean is the same as making sure your baby doesn’t swallow a power tool … constant vigilance! Don’t wait until an hour before Mom gets home to start, or you won’t even have time to hire the backhoe.
Get in the habit of cleaning up every little mess as soon as you see it, wiping off the counter after every drip and heading for the laundry basket with every tossed sock.
In fact, all of these are probably good habits whether Mom is away or not … but I’m just trying to get us through the weekend, men, I’m not pretending to work any miracles here!