Can we just stop with the “Oh those silly helpless horrible fathers!”?

28 Jan

I opened up Facebook this morning to find my cousin annoyed by an article, about how football player Jim Cutler sent his wife an anxious “Please God, when are you coming home?” series of texts.  His wife had been out of town, and texted to him that the plane had landed.  He replied with –

“Need u home asap.”

“All hell has broken loose”

“Jax is in his crib.”

“Cam refuses to eat.”

“I’m about to leave”


This is obviously to show how all men are indeed, buffoons, and incapable of handling the smallest of tasks – like minding their own children.  The article even says that he responded to his wife  “in the most stereotypical-man way”

Because no wife has ever sent a desperate text to her husband after a long day with the kids, or met him wild-eyed at the door, thrusting a screaming toddler at him and saying “I’m going out!”.  All hell NEVER breaks out on Mom’s watch.

Cutler’s wife, Kim Cavallari, posted that this series of texts was “pretty hilarious”.  And I do think it’s hilarious, in a “all parents have this moment” way.  God knows, my husband and I have traded texts like “Kill me now?” and “I now understand why animals eat their young” and “Bring liquor home”.  He has come home to find me twitching and will gently say “Hey hon, why don’t you get out for a bit, I’ll feed the children.”  and lovingly shoves me out the door while I mutter something about “little ingrates”.

To say that when one parent has been gone for a while, and the other parent ends up on the edge, is just a man thing – well, it is completely and totally not to the truth.

I know, I have lived it.

See, when the woman’s the stay at home parent, she knows all the ins and outs, which sippy cups are favored, what the routines are, why never to allow the scissors out, or what tasks to let slide.  Because she’s the one there all day, making the routines and choices.  It is, as even Oprah will state, a job.  A really lousy paying job that gets no respect, but a job none-the-less. To then except the non-staying at home all day parent to be able to swoop in and do everything and not have a moment of sheer panic is ridiculous.  It doesn’t make the father a buffoon, it makes the father less experienced with that level of child-wrangling.  And if you’re the type of woman who’s always “Ugh!  He doesn’t do it right!  I can’t let him near X because he manages it all wrong!” – well, then you’re setting yourself up for disaster.  No one wants to do anything that they know someone else is just going to criticize and micromanage from afar.

The first time I left my husband alone with our boys, I came home two days later to “Daddy took us to McDonald’s!” and pizza boxes.  Which made him the Best Parent Ever according to kids.  I was all “Really?” at him.  He said “What, I fed them.”

Eh, true.  He did.   They were being guys.  They ate pizza and had taken apart an engine.  The boys were happy, the house wasn’t on fire, really, it was fine.

The next time I left him alone, it was with three kids, ages 5, 3, and 1, for a week.  He was good on his own for four days.  The fifth day, the kids broke him.  I got this desperate call of “The boys were awful, the girl child poo’ed like you wouldn’t believe – seriously, she’s not that big, how can she make that much poop? – and in dealing with that, I burnt dinner, omg, they’re killing me…”  I didn’t say anything.  “And I know this is just your typical day, but I’m not used to this.”

That isn’t be a wuss, that’s being truthful.  And how many of us women-folk freak out when our husband is sent on a trip, and we have a week alone with our offspring?  Be honest, it’s a lot. And if you’re not used to the daily ins and outs, then yes, it’s going to be hard.  Especially if you throw a toddler into the mix.  We can’t say that being a mom is so very hard, then mock the dads for not being able to instantly step into our caregiver shoes and be all Mary Poppins about it.  Oh sure, there are those guys who are jerks, who really are useless, and they should be slapped with dirty diapers.  But that text sent by Cutler?  Could have been sent by any of us moms, and we know it.

So give the guy a break.  Give your guy a break.  Give yourself a break.  Parenting is just hard, no matter what chromosomes you have.





13 Responses to “Can we just stop with the “Oh those silly helpless horrible fathers!”?”

  1. Dean B January 28, 2015 at 12:55 pm #

    Well done! My husband is just as capable as taking care of our four-year-old as I am. He does however give her too much sweets/junk when I’m not around, but who cares? He doesn’t do it all the time and it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a bad parent. He’s just British, he loves sweets too much 😉 “Cakes & ale anyone?”

  2. saracvt January 28, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

    Exactly! In fact, I’m putting together a book about our…interesting… experiences, & planning a chapter exclusively devoted to how awesome Greg has been, titled “A Good Man Goes To War”.

    (May I include your name & blog, Phoebe, for the chapter on support, tentatively titled, “Who’s With Me? Anybody?…Anybody?”)

    • phoebz4 January 28, 2015 at 2:02 pm #

      go for it!

      • saracvt January 28, 2015 at 2:17 pm #

        Thank you. Just as soon as Greg sets up a word processor, I’ll begin writing in earnest. Writing in longhand cramps my hand a bit; I can type MUCH faster 🙂

  3. Cathby January 28, 2015 at 2:29 pm #

    Kim Cavallari? Ugh. I bet she thinks it’s hilarious… since she gets all her parenting news — and anti-vaccine information “from the internet”. Hope she hasn’t taken her kids to Disneyland recently.

  4. Renee Anne January 28, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

    When crap like that happens and I tell Husband, his usual response is: you’re an adult, deal with it. However, he gets mad when I tell him that. Of course, it’s not often than I leave the boys with him for an extended amount of time but the few times I have and he’s freaked out, I have used that line on him.

  5. Coming East January 28, 2015 at 3:02 pm #

    Loved this post! I am an old mom of three (they are in their thirties and forties), but I remember those days so well. And it really is about being in your environment. Without a lot of experience, anything we do can seem overwhelming. My husband still can’t figure out how to use our stove (high tech), and if I ever ask him to throw in a load of laundry, he always asks me, “How much detergent should I use and what setting do I put it on?” On the other hand, I have forbidden him to die before I do because I can’t figure out the banking or how to put gas in the car.

    • phoebz4 January 28, 2015 at 3:18 pm #

      When we moved to Ireland, the rental house agent had to show us how to use the washer, dryer, and oven. And we should have asked about the microwave. I remember having this moment of panic when I realized the oven dial was all in Celsius, and I only knew how to cook in Fahrenheit (and then, realizing that there’d be cooking instructions on the packaging…phew!)

      If you have never done certain tasks, they aren’t always intuitive!

      • Coming East January 28, 2015 at 3:34 pm #

        And their showers are very different, too!

      • phoebz4 January 28, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

        Yes, they are. I loved them though!

  6. Tricia January 28, 2015 at 10:56 pm #

    Yes! The dads deserve more credit. I freak out way more than my husband does. Or maybe I’m just more verbal about it. Kids can be tough to deal with on your own, and sometimes they break you. It’s just a fact, whether you’re mom or dad. Thanks for posting this!

  7. fivebeansoup January 29, 2015 at 6:22 am #

    Alan has always been great with the kids. Not killed or severally maimed any of them yet. He is frustrating though but only because he hasn’t yet learned to read my mind and decode my thoughts. I do sometimes look forward to his trips away now (not at first but after 3 years of it) as it means kids and I can relax and just have chips for dinner if we want and no one to force us into a full meal.

  8. lexiemom February 6, 2015 at 11:02 am #

    Absolutely!!!! I am a stay at home mom with a toddler, and on the rare occasions that I leave him alone to handle it all, he does pretty well. Plus, he usually greets me when I come home with a very relived “glad you’re home” look, and a complimentary comment on my mothering skills. My husband is a great father, and completely competent, but he is all the more appreciative of MY 24 hour job when HE has to do it solo!

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