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Sharing the Load

The landscape of modern families has been changing for many years and traditional gender roles have been undergoing significant transformations. Gone are the days when dads were viewed mostly as breadwinners with minimal involvement in parental, household, and family responsibilities.

Today, dads play an essential role in nurturing their kids, keeping up on chores, and supporting their partners in more ways than just financially. Single dads often have a keener understanding of what it takes to maintain a household when the job is exclusively on them. Perhaps coupled fathers need to better understand the importance of sharing the load of parental, household, and family responsibilities.

For single dads, raising kids and maintaining a household can be a challenging and rewarding experience. Many single fathers have stepped up to be both the provider and nurturer in their children’s lives, which comes with all the myriad of details like doing the dishes, washing clothes, scheduling doctor’s appointments, bathing, helping with homework, meal prepping and cooking, shopping, day care, and school events. Single dads understand that balancing work, parenting, and a personal life can be overwhelming.

On the other hand, dads in coupled relationships have the advantage of a built-in support system with their partners. In these family units, it is essential that fathers recognize the value of equal distribution of responsibilities, or sharing the load of parenting, household, and family needs. Coupled dads could benefit from the single dad’s experience and take a mental note when the dishwasher needs loading, kids’ clothes need folding, the toilet cleaned, the homework checked, the bedding washed, or the dog walked.

To maintain a balanced and harmonious family and avoid resentment within their relationship, coupled dads should work on staying conscious of simple yet productive efforts that can support moms who may feel like they’re doing the bulk of the work to keep a house running effectively.

Mothers can often bear the emotional load of balancing life, work, managing the household and caring for children. By sharing the load of responsibilities, dads can create a more supportive environment and strengthen the bond between parents. Communication is the key for both parents. When dads initiate and maintain a better balance of childcare duties, household chores, or simply tuning in and actively listening to a mother’s need for support, it can make a world of difference to the family’s overall sense of well-being, as well as modeling more dynamic awareness for the children around communication and cooperation.

Coupled dads can take a cue from the single dads out there that perhaps the simplest acts of support around these subtle yet everyday elements of keeping a family functioning in a healthy inclusive manner, might just be the difference between doing it alone or having the support of a loving life partner.

Chod McClintock
Chod McClintock
Chod McClintock is a dad to a 7 year old daughter and serves as the Fatherhood Support Facilitator with parentaid.org. where he teaches Fathering Skills courses and hosts a weekly Dads Support group. Chod is a father’s rights advocate and recently co-presented at the annual national Child Abuse Prevention conference.



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