Parenting is no easy feat. It’s a 24/7 job, your coworker(s) regularly vomit with virtually no provocation, and, instead of collecting a paycheck, your bank account dwindles by the minute. What’s worse, while taking care of kids can be tough for any caregiver, moms tend to be in the thick of it more often than dads: According to data from the Pew Research Center, while male parents have tripled the time they put into childcare over the past 50 years, they still do about half the work their female partners do.
Sure, it’s not always easy to figure out a French braid or high ponytail, especially if you’ve never had long hair yourself, but doing your kids’ hair is not only a great way to bond with them, it’s also pretty adorable. And if you need extra incentive to break out the bobby pins, just post a video of yourself perfecting that top knot to your social media and watch those likes flood in.
Unless she’s a teacher, odds are your significant other doesn’t remember how to do polynomial long division or diagram a sentence any better than you do. However, if you’re eager to connect with your kids and help them better understand what they’re learning in school, it’s time to hit the books alongside them. See? Your teachers weren’t lying when they said these skills would come in handy some day.
Ask most parents what the hardest part of having young kids is and they’ll tell you: it’s the lack of sleep. Unfortunately, for many parents—particularly breastfeeding moms—the onus is on them alone to get up and feed the baby in the middle of the night. However, dads should be doing their part here, too, heating up pumped milk, mixing formula, and trying to get that squirmy little one to take a bottle.
Newborn babies have talons so sharp they would put your average peregrine to shame, and movements so jerky and unpredictable it’s often a nerve-racking affair to try to trim them. That said, wielding those teeny-tiny nail clippers, no matter how stress-provoking it may be, should fall squarely on dad’s plate as well as mom’s.
So you bought your kids adorable wardrobes, tons of toys, and a million craft supplies, hoping they’d bring them joy. What you find instead is that they have overflowing closets that would burst like a dynamite-loaded piñata if you tried to hang up another item. And while organization may often fall on the shoulders of mothers, dads should get in on the act, too—your friends with younger kids will appreciate the hand-me-downs and your partner will appreciate not having to do it all herself.
If you’re a dad missing out on bath time, you’re missing out on a great chance to bond with your kids. A bottle of bubble bath, some soap, a Spotify playlist with no swearing in it, a few rubber ducks, and you’re good to go. And to any dad who assumes they won’t know how to adequately remove that thin layer of grime from their kids: if you know how to make yourself clean and presentable, you shouldn’t have a hard time doing the same thing for someone who’s three feet tall.