3 Simple Rules for Stopping the Daddy Wars Before They Start

The “Daddy Wars” haven’t yet heated up. Let’s stop them before they start.

Stop the daddy wars before they start. Support your fellow dads!
Stop the daddy wars before they start. Support your fellow dads! (flickr: creative commons)

Women are under a lot of pressure to be “perfect parents.” There’s so much unfair societal pressure, comparison and judgment of those who do things differently. No matter what moms do, there seems to be some “queen bee” mom or some aspect of the media telling moms they are doing it wrong.

Breastfeed or bottle feed? Regular baby food or home-made, organic, farmers-market probiotic kale slurry? Work outside of the house or stay home? What products are you buying? What food are you buying? How clean is your house? And how good do you look doing all this?

From this dad’s point of view, these “Mommy Wars” are crazy-making and unnecessary, and they need to stop. There are so many ways to be a great mom, and we should be validating moms instead of tearing them down.

So far, mostly due to the fact that the bar is often set ridiculously low for dads, fathers haven’t faced the same types of pressures. I remember when my son was a toddler and I’d take him into town for pizza. I often received comments that, “I was such a good dad.” Funny, no one ever told my wife that when she did the same exact thing (and she is an incredible mom). And, really, I should not be getting excessive praise for being an involved dad – it’s who most dads are and what most of us do every day.

Me, along with fellow ambassadors of involved fatherhood at the National At-Home Dad Network Convention
Me, along with fellow ambassadors of involved fatherhood at the National At-Home Dad Network Convention

In fact, over the past generation, dads have tripled the amount of time we spend with our kids, have doubled our housework, and are far more likely to see our primary family role as nurturer than provider. The number of at-home dads and dads who are primary caregivers is at an all-time high. After all, almost every dad I know is putting in the work to be a hands-on, loving involved dad.

So, it is only a matter of time that at least some of this crazy-making pressure to be a perfect parent will fall to us dads.

Fellow involved fathers, I need your help. Let’s agree to stop the “Daddy Wars” before they even start. I have one general principle and three simple rules I think will help us cut the “Daddy Wars” off at the pass.

General Principle-
If you love your kids, you are trying hard, you are willing to put in the work, and you put your family’s needs first at least most of the time – you’re doing great. There’s no need to compare yourself to other parents. You are being a great dad and that’s all anyone can ever ask.

Three Simple Rules-

OK, and here are the three rules to help us stand by this principle. Repeat after me:

  1. I will never know the whole story from the outside, so I will not criticize dads on their parenting or work-family decisions, unless they do something particularly egregious or harmful.
  2. When a dad is trying his best, I will support him.
  3. If I can help a fellow dad, I will.

After all, we’re in this together. As a group, we’re raising the next generation. It’s OK if we do things differently, as long as we love our families and keep trying our best. All the rest is noise.

What do you think we need to do to stop the “Daddy Wars?” Let’s discuss in the comments.

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3 thoughts on “3 Simple Rules for Stopping the Daddy Wars Before They Start

  1. I mean — I know why you’re focusing on dads but it’s a good mantra for parenting full stop, isn’t it?
    Why not simply:

    1. I will never know the whole story from the outside, so I will not criticize mums or dads on their parenting or work-family decisions, unless they do something particularly egregious or harmful.
    2. When a mum or dad is trying their best, I will support them.
    3. If I can help a fellow mum or dad, I will.

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