It's the hardest, toughest and best advice ever given to mothers.

The author of a new parenting book is dishing out controversial advice that I agree with. 

As a parent there’s one phrase I hear way to often: “I can’t believe he does that.”

“He” being my fiancé and “that” being any generic parenting or household duty.

These are regular conversations in my life. If fact, I have them at least once a week, if not more.

Me: “Oh the boys are out kicking balls with their dad at the footy oval.”

Friend: “I can’t believe he does that. My husband would never do that.”

Me: “He’s taken the boys to the beach for a while, I’m home just getting some work done.”

Friend: “Wow. On his own? I can’t believe he does that.”

And it goes on. I could name a thousand things my fiancé does with our children that result in that exact same response. What exactly can’t they believe? That he is willingly an active parent or that I willingly let him be an active parent?

My partner patting a shark with our son on a recent holiday.

Author of the book Calmer, Easier, Happier Boys, Noël Janis-Norton believes fathers have a greater influence than their mothers on how boys turn out as adults. In an article with the Daily Mail UK Janis-Norton, a parenting and behavioural specialist and former teacher, said that the reason we have problems with this is that too often mothers find it hard to back off and let dad take control.

Mothers need to allow dads to be dads and to have their own relationship with their children - and in particular with their boys - without trying to micromanage,' she says.

In what may be the hardest, and toughest, best advice ever given to mothers Janis-Norton says we all need to grit out teeth, smile and nod and let fathers make their own mistakes in their parenting life.

That means if the kids are wearing odd socks, or the wrong colour pants or they were given the wrong lunch, us mums just need to back off and not say anything.

“The gritted teeth part comes because mums assume they know best - but actually none of us are perfect. We’ve got weaknesses too. We’re not doing it right all the time. So really we shouldn’t be judging the dads!”

My fiancé is absolutely active in the kids’ lives but even this hit me hard. I know I absolutely flipped it the time he washed the navy school shorts with the WHITE school shirts and the time he gave them two sandwiches and extra treats in their school lunches.


I hate to admit it but I think Janis-Norton has some good points.

Yes, we are even meant to grit our teeth when injuries are involved, like in this clip below. Post continues after clip.

I’m amazed at how often I hear my friends say their significant others aren’t capable as parents. Maybe not in those exact words but that’s basically what they are implying.

Like when they say:

“Oh I could never leave him for a weekend, he wouldn’t know what to do.”

“He let you go on holidays on your own? How did he cope at home? My husband would never cope.”

My three boys play hard together and relax hard together too.

While I can’t say 100% that every man would cope, because I don't know every man. I do know that everyone who has ever said that to me does have a perfectly capable partner at home. Maybe it would take them a while to find their way, sure, but it’s not like any of us gave birth and instantly knew everything our kids liked and hated and what size clothes they wore.

We learnt it, just as dads can if we give them a chance.

I, for one, love that my partner is so hands on with the kids. It gives me a chance to get so much done. And yes, I’ve learnt to grit my teeth over the small things like cereal for dinner and jumpers that are two sizes too small, even if it means they are playing in their grey school shirts for the rest of the year…

Do you grit your teeth when dad makes mistakes? What do you think about this advice?

Want more? Try:

“You’re encroaching on my territory buddy.” Mum says to Dad, “Step back.”

The reasons I love my baby’s daddy.