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“Who dressed Eva this morning?” 7 offensive things dads want you to stop saying to them.

None of us wakes up in the morning hoping to offend someone. But sometimes, we do.

I’ve recently been troubled by this, especially when it comes to communicating with other parents. It’s so easy to fall into stereotypical gender roles and unintentionally make old-fashioned assumptions. Especially about dads.

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So I’ve done some research into what questions get on dads’ nerves. Here’s your definitive list of the top seven things we should stop saying to dads:

1. “Are you babysitting today?”

Amazingly, this is a fairly common thing for men to hear when they’re out with their kids alone. It’s offensive to the dad AND to their partner.

It’s like saying that a mum is permanently on duty because that’s what she’s expected to do, and that dads only need to fill in when mums needs a break. That’s ridiculous. A father is not “on duty” any more or less than a mum is.

WHEN YOU SAY: “Are you babysitting today?”
HE THINKS: “It’s called being a father. I’m not getting paid to watch my own children.”
INSTEAD YOU MIGHT SAY: “You’re doing great, Dad.”

2. “Who dressed Eva this morning?”

If my daughter is dressed like a penniless orphan from Les Mis, it’s because we had a busy morning, not because I’m incapable of dressing her nicely. Dads have style just as often as mums have technical know-how.

A perfectly-dressed child doesn’t always mean that a mum dressed them, right? Better to keep that question to yourself.

WHEN YOU SAY: “Did Daddy dress you today?”
HE THINKS: “You don’t like her outfit so it must have been me that dressed her?”
INSTEAD YOU MIGHT SAY: “Well look how adorable you look today.”

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3. “It’s so great how helpful you are around the house.”

The whole “you’ve trained him well” sentiment died back in the 1940s. This old-school assumption that if a father does anything right he must have been trained is unfortunate.

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A modern, healthy relationship is one where there’s a division of labour that’s equal across and fair. If a man does something well, he deserves the same respect and individual acknowledgement that you’d give his partner.

WHEN YOU SAY: “It’s so great how helpful you are around the house.”
HE THINKS: “Just because I’m a guy doesn’t mean I can’t be good at helping around the house?”
INSTEAD YOU MIGHT SAY: “This house looks amazing.”

4. “When are you getting the snip?”

Sure, it’s reversible. But that doesn’t mean we should talk about it. Unless you’re genuinely concerned for the health or happiness of the couple, it’s probably best to leave their private parts out of the conversation.

WHEN YOU SAY: “When are you getting the snip?”
HE THINKS: “None of your damn business.”
INSTEAD YOU MIGHT SAY: *silence*

5. “Have you changed a nappy yet?”

It’s not 1955. It’s expected now that dad starts changing nappies on day one. Implying otherwise is as offensive as a dirty nappy.

WHEN YOU SAY: “Have you changed a nappy yet?”
HE THINKS: “Of course I’ve changed a damn nappy.”
INSTEAD YOU MIGHT SAY: “Anything I can do to help you guys?”

6. “Have you got him a football yet?”

Let’s stop perpetuating the myth that fathers are only good at parenting when it involves a sport.

WHEN YOU SAY: “Have you got him a football yet?”
HE THINKS: “I have actually. But I also bought him a stuffed unicorn yesterday because it’s 2019 and we try not to force gender stereotypes on our four-day-old son.”
INSTEAD YOU MIGHT SAY: “What’s your favourite thing to do with your son/daughter?”

7. “Sounds like she wants her mum.”

Babies don’t cry because they exclusively want their mum. They cry because they need something or are uncomfortable. Dads, contrary to popular opinion, can feed or change a nappy to stop a child from having a tantrum.

WHEN YOU SAY: “Sounds like she wants her mum.”
HE THINKS: “She’s not here and I’m doing the very best I can.”
INSTEAD YOU MIGHT SAY: “Is there anything I can do to help?”

If you’re anything like me, you’ve done half of these things this week alone. Don’t get down on yourself about it, just take note and try your best to eliminate these from future conversations with dads.

When in doubt, remind yourself that the person standing in front of you is just another parent trying to get through their day.

Parenting is hard for everyone involved. If we all could just be a little more gracious when talking to one another, parenting would be a much less stressful experience.

Did I miss anything? Ask the men in your life what questions or statements annoy them and add them in the comment section below.

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