Every once in a while, a dad posts on Instagram, or Facebook, or Reddit about how he took the time to help his wife with childcare or chores, and urges every other dad to do the same because of how special and wonderful the mothers of their children are. While it's always great to see men recognizing the work their wives do, there's a big problem with the idea that these dads are "helping."
"This morning as I was making lunches for the kids I thought to myself 'it will be nice to give Andrea a break from this on her birthday,'" Mike Reynolds, who runs a Facebook page called Everyday Girl Dad, wrote.
And although he said that he often makes lunches for his two daughters because his "brain wakes [him] up early," Reynolds realized that thinking of the chore as "helping" his wife was wrong.
"The simple fact that I thought of making lunches as 'helping' reminded me of how unfairly labour can be distributed in the household," he wrote.
"Imagine the privilege, or lack of understanding, to be able to refer to doing work around the house as 'helping.'"
As Reynolds said in the post, doing chores such as making lunch, doing dishes, helping his daughters pick up their toys, remembering what lunch day it is at school or feeding the cat isn't "helping" — it's equally dividing the work it takes to live in a house or raise children.
"If you find yourself thinking this way, fix it right away. Don't let it linger," he wrote.
In an interview with Scary Mommy, Reynolds mentioned that this wasn't the only time he and his wife talked about his "helping."
“It was not the first time Andrea and I had chatted about this," he told Scary Mommy. "We mostly try and talk about the things around the house that are frustrating as they come up.”
But although Reynolds does often make his kids lunches and does other things around the house, he said he needed the reminder that the tasks he does aren't just things he's taking off of his wife's plate.
"This was a good reminder for myself that thinking you do a lot around the house isn't the same as actually doing a lot around the house," he wrote. "Maybe you do do a lot but just thinking you do doesn't make it so. So talk about it."
But as he reminds other dads, doing things around the house doesn't mean you deserve praise.
"Just make sure you don't pat yourself on the back for 'helping,'" he wrote. "If you're only 'helping' then I bet you there is someone in your house who is feeling overworked and emotionally sapped. It ain't all roses and glory, we all know that, so make sure you're all doing your fair share of the shit shoveling too."
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