10 Things This Mom Can Learn from Dads

As a mom to 6-month-old twins, I’ve developed a certain way of doing things when it comes to parenting. It’s hard for me not to cringe when dad steps in and takes over because let’s face it, he doesn’t know that the teeny-tiny washcloths get stacked on the right side of the drawer under the crib, or that there’s a special pad that protects the pad that goes on the changing table.

But what I’ve come to realize is that when I refrain from correcting my husband or showing him how to do things my way, he starts to feel even more confident handling the babies — and I get some much-needed help! The bonus is that when we let dads be dads, we can actually learn something from them.

Here’s what I’ve learned from watching my husband and other dads — let me know if you agree! — Ronnie Koenig

  • They don’t read tons of parenting books 1 of 10
    They don't read tons of parenting books
    When the little one isn't sleeping enough, mom scours different websites, checks out online chat rooms, and takes out books from the library espousing different sleep-scheduling methods. The dads I know go by trial and error, and for the most part, the result is usually the same!
  • They don’t feel guilty for working 2 of 10
    They don't feel guilty for working
    I find that when I work, I worry about missing time with the kids. When I'm with the kids, I think about the work I should be doing. It's a losing battle. Since more dads tend to maintain clearer boundaries between work and family, they can be more present when they're actually parenting!
  • They don’t stress about whether they’re doing things perfectly 3 of 10
    They don't stress about whether they're doing things perfectly
    Plenty of mothers wonder whether they're doing mom stuff right, whether it's breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, or burping their little ones. Dads, on the other hand, are usually willing to jump right in without a lot of concern for perfectionism. So what if the diaper is on backwards? At least it's on, right?
  • They don’t freak out over kids’ boo-boos 4 of 10
    They don't freak out over kids' boo-boos
    When our wee ones get a first bruise or cut, motherly instincts kick in and tell us to nurture. Dads are more apt to play things cool, which can be extremely helpful in teaching kids not to overreact during mishaps (although I'll admit it: mom
    still might!).
  • They do things with the kids that they’re interested in … which makes it more fun for them 5 of 10
    They do things with the kids that they're interested in ... which makes it more fun for them
    While moms investigate the proper books to read to their kids and which TV shows (if any) are appropriate, dads are often more easy-going in this area and tend to choose activities that they like doing with their little ones, from playing ball to cooking to just running around.
  • They don’t care about coordinating baby’s outfits 6 of 10
    They don't care about coordinating baby's outfits
    When mom's on wardrobe duty, the baby's decked out in a coordinated outfit that costs more than the one mom's wearing. When dad dresses baby, she's sporting clashing colors, mismatched socks, or a onesie that's not weather-appropriate. I've learned to relax a little on this front: The kid's just going to spit up on it in two minutes, anyway!
  • They have less trouble saying no 7 of 10
    They have less trouble saying no
    Many moms I know are afraid of being "the mean one," but the dads generally don't have a problem laying down the law. "You don't want to wear a jacket? Okay, then you're not going to Emily's Elmo-themed birthday party!" Although it may seem harsh in the moment, they're actually doing a great job establishing
    parent/child boundaries.
  • They spend parent time parenting, not venting 8 of 10
    They spend parent time parenting, not venting
    From moms' groups to mom/baby activities, there's always someone ready to bend your ear about how hard they have it. Dads may miss the chance to bond with other dads, but the upside is that they do far less bitching than we do.
  • They don’t compare themselves to other dads 9 of 10
    They don't compare themselves to other dads
    Upon meeting other new moms, we instantly interview one another (How long is yours sleeping? Is she rolling? Have you signed her up for baby Pilates/yoga/story-time yet?). Dads don't waste much time worrying about what other dads are doing (which leaves more time for just enjoying being with their child!).
  • They ask for help when they need it 10 of 10
    They ask for help when they need it
    Let's face it: Most of us see ourselves as Supermoms who don't need help with the door or anything else, thanks! If the dads I know care about it, they don't show it: They're more apt to ask for help when they need it, including enlisting the help of moms they see when they're out for a stroll. (Note: Unfortunately, this doesn't mean they are any less stubborn about asking for directions or assembling furniture
    from Ikea.)

Ronnie Koenig is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, NY. She was the editor-in-chief of Playgirl magazine and writes for Cosmo, Redbook, Penthouse, American Way and others. Visit her at



Photo credits: iStock

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