When Dad Needs a Mother’s Day

appreciate your partner, celebrate Dad, Dad's Day Off, day to himself, father's day appreciation, fathers day, husband is a better housewife, partner

My husband probably needs a Mother’s Day. I know, I know, that’s what Father’s Day is for, right? Well…maybe. 

Let me explain.

Here’s what I find to be the typical routine for Mother’s Day: Dad and kids let Mom sleep in, make her breakfast or take her to lunch, write sentimental cards, and generally try to give her the day off in some way because she’s always taking care of kids and cooking and cleaning and generally keeping the house from imploding. 

For Father’s Day, I often see grill outs, sports games, funny cards, and gifts like soap-on-a-rope. (Remember when that was all the rage? As if Dads were going to lose their soap if it wasn’t attached to a convenient handle?) 

Neither of those descriptions of the two holidays are always accurate, of course, but as a general theme that’s the way they seem to go. And if that’s your jam (or if Dad really can’t keep track of that slippery soap), then keep doing what you’re doing! However, in my family, I honestly think my husband deserves the breakfast-in-bed, day-off-from-housework version of these two holidays. 

We have a joke in our house that my husband would make a better “housewife” than me. We use this phrase ironically, since neither of us believe one person should be doing more of the housework or parenting based on gender. But we also can’t help but chuckle at the difference between how things play out based on who is home that day.

Here’s a typical scene when he comes home from work: Toys everywhere, dishes piled in the sink, stinky diaper sitting in the trash stinking up the kitchen, Mom and Toddler playing outside to keep both from having a total meltdown and an apologetic, “Oops, I forgot to plan dinner again.” 

But when I come home from work on his days off? Here’s a scene that has legitimately played itself out on more than one occasion: The house is clean, the toddler is napping, some random chore we’ve been needing to do for weeks is crossed of the shared to-do list, and there are actually fresh baked cookies sitting on the counter. Cookies. I can’t even manage dinner most days, and he somehow does the normal stuff and makes homemade cookies!! What kind of magical unicorn have I married? 

Now don’t get me wrong. We both need a break after a day alone with a toddler. We both have good and bad days, and we both lose it sometimes. But in general, he’s the one who does more around the house, even though I’m physically at home more. He does breakfast the majority of the mornings since I’m at work by 5am, he does more dishes, he cleans more, ect. It’s just the way we function at the moment. 

You might be thinking, “Okay, so get to the point and stop bragging about your magical unicorn of a husband.” And I do have a point, I promise. 

My point is that not all relationships look the same. Maybe you have a partner who does more of the housework, maybe you are the only working parent, or maybe you don’t have a Father in your family.

Maybe what Dad really wants is breakfast in bed and a sappy homemade card from the kids! Or maybe he wants a day to himself because he’s just as tired of the constant whining and requests for snacks as you are. 

If that’s the case, I want to give you permission this year to do something different! Because here’s the frustrating thing…people often think that I am lying or being “too nice” when I say my husband deserves a day off from housework and kid duty. They think that because he works full time and I work part time that I must be extra self-sacrificing when I say he needs a break. Last year I sent my husband to a movie alone for Father’s Day and it was exactly what he had asked for! 

So this year, if Dad wants to grill out and take a shower with his new handy-dandy soap, let him! But if he needs a Dad’s Day Off or breakfast in bed, take a page from my book and steal some inspiration from a Mother’s Day Pinterest board. Maybe just don’t tell him that’s where you got your ideas from. 

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