Dads Redefining Fatherhood by Being a Parenting Team

Two people holding hands.Parenthood is hard. But it’s a little easier when you’re doing it together with your significant other. In real life, there’s nothing quite like a great parenting team.

To the dads who co-parent and make a mama’s job easier: We thank you! Here are ways we especially appreciate you.

1.) You’re an Equal Part of Our Parenting Team 

While you do have your childish moments (and so do I), you take on parenthood with me. You don’t expect me to do it all. You’re not another kid I need to take care of, and I’m grateful for that. Most important, you communicate with me about the kids, the house, and what you need instead of getting angry about unmet expectations or assuming I can read your mind.

2.) You Bring Seats to the Table

You’ve felt left out in the past whether it’s at events where it’s all moms and no dads. You’ve felt awkward in men’s groups, like the Bible study, when they were talking about men who only want to be hunters (not gatherers) or warrior types. (For the record, I love that you would prefer to cook than go on a hunt).

You’re extra aware of others being left out, especially when it involves kids, dads, or outdated expectations. You pull up chairs for other people at the table and encourage them to think outside those boxes.

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3.) You Acknowledge the Mental Load

I really struggle with getting overwhelmed by the to do list and the mental load of work and kids. And you help by talking out lists with me, but also just by tackling things that need to be done without asking me about it. The invisible labor of keeping up with everything the kids and house needs is exhausting, and it’s hard to share it but you try to share it with me because we’re a parenting team. You also see and acknowledge the inequities we experience. For instance, when you bring our kid to the store in their pajamas with messy hair, you get oohs and ahhs. Whereas if I do the same thing, I get glares. Thanks for acknowledging how dumb it is that mother’s have a ridiculous amount of societal social pressure that dad’s don’t.

4.) You Don’t Keep Score

No one can do their best all the time. That’s something I’m unlearning. And you’re helping by not keeping score. You don’t expect me to do fifty percent of everything and don’t complain about picking up the slack.

We’re a great parenting team in part because we don’t keep score about whose turn it is to clean the bottles and give each other breaks. You know that the house is as much mine as it is yours. Learning to communicate about how to help the other person is something we worked on together in counseling and it’s been so worth it.

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5.) You’re Emotionally Available 

We’ve both worked hard on our mental health so that we will be more emotionally vulnerable with each other and with our kids. And it’s hard work. It’s easy to slip back into the mode of just wanting the kids to listen and obey without also working through their feelings. But you know that emotional intelligence is just as important as book knowledge. You’re not afraid to let our kids see you sad, or to be really silly with them. You don’t withhold love or affection in our house or outside of it because it’s not “manly.” It’s so huge that you are teaching our kids about their emotions and helping them identify and label those emotions.

Cheers today to the dads that are parenting partners.

You’re not a perfect parent or partner. And you don’t expect me to be either. But you’re a really great dad and I’m so thankful.

This isn’t to shame those that don’t have a parenting team, but to celebrate the dad’s who have stepped up. If you don’t have that, remember that “conventional parenting and communities” are being redefined, so make your own community and team!

Sarah Spencer
Sarah was raised in Plano, took a detour in Oklahoma for college, and now lives in McKinney. She's a teacher and mom who believes that 10 three year olds are easier to handle than one. Sarah and her husband, Nathaniel, are foster and adoptive parents and advocates. Big fans of deep conversations, they run a blog that helps parents connect with their kids over entertainment. She likes to try DIY projects that are way over her head and experiment with different teas and chocolates while binge-watching great series. Follow Sarah at Down the Hobbit Hole Blog and follow on Facebook or Instagram for her movie and book guides for parents.