Dads...no matter how much we love them they still can't shake the reputation they have for acting like, well, dads. If TV sitcoms are to be believed, dads are little more than bumbling idiots who can barely make a peanut butter and jam sandwich without burning the house down.
We love to shake our heads and roll our eyes at the dads who use duct tape to keep a diaper on, or the ones who start gagging at the first whiff of baby poop. And when we see a woman with children out alone we like to say, "Oh, so you're husband is babysitting tonight?"
And then wait for her to kill us.
Yup, it can be tough for dads to catch a break. They weren't born with the necessary equipment to carry the child, birth the child and breast feed the child, yet we expect them to intuitively know everything there is to know about being a parent. Some rise to the occasion, some crack under the pressure.
This post is for the guys who do dad things AND parent things. The ones who make the tough calls, kiss the boo boos, help with the homework and make the lunches. 'Cause we know there are some awesome dads out there who are killing it every single day, trying to be the parent their kids deserve.
Slow clap Dads, slow clap.
15 Getting A Head Start Dad
Might as well start 'em early, right?
Let's raise a glass to the dads who know their job isn't done once the stick turns blue; the dads who reject the Fred Flintstone model of fatherhood and are there every step of the way, starting with birth class.
Pregnancy can be a challenging time for both mom and dad. Dad wants to help and be useful, but there's really not a lot for him to do at this point. His sole job is to be supportive and do whatever she asks, whenever she asks it, as quickly as possible. Hold mama bear's hand at appointments and during the ultrasound.
Nod and smile when she spots a $600 crib she has to have, and when she wants to paint the nursery in lead-free, non-toxic, essence of free range seahorse, paint. And when changes her mind on the colour before it's even dry, tell her "no problem honey. I think yellow is better too."
Yup, pregnancy can be a tricky time. But it ain't nothin' compared to the actual delivery. Lamaze or birthing classes can only take a guy so far, only teach him so much. In all fairness to dads, it must be a pretty tough thing to watch. Dudes must feel pretty helpless knowing there is very little they can do outside of bringing ice chips and getting screamed at. Moral support and hand-holding are important but they only go so far.
14 Super Hero Dad
As parents, we learn pretty quickly that it isn't enough just to keep our kids alive. Providing food, clothes, and housing are the bare minimum. What do you mean they want dinner EVERY night?? We also become counsellors, entertainers, psychiatrists, coaches, chauffeurs, maids and nurses.
And even beyond that? We want to teach our kids the value of play; how to laugh, have fun and be silly. We want them to believe in themselves and grow up knowing the world is their oyster and that we are there for them no matter what.
And this super hero dad looks like he's doing a pretty great job.
Tough to know whose idea the costumes were but there's no denying dad is into it. The "don't mess with us and our rad blue shorts" look says it all.
This is what parenthood is about. Knowing when to put down the homework, take a break from the chores and just have fun. Kids love it when their parents act silly. They may blush with embarrassment or beg you not to do "that thing you always do" in front of their friends, but secretly they are probably bursting with pride (unless you're the dad who shows up at the mall wearing short shorts and a baby tee. If so, this does not apply to you.)
13 Making The Most Of Every Minute Dad
Where to begin with this one?
Something about this picture just tugs at the heart strings. Is it a single dad picking his daughter up from school, making the most of every minute they have together?
What is it about dads reading to their kids that makes us melt?
Whatever the story, this father is choosing to spend his subway ride connecting with his little girl, not leaning against the window and feigning sleep, like most of us do. He's entertaining, engaging and teaching her even when it's not convenient. He's probably doing all the character voices, too, and doesn't care who's listening. He doesn't even have a seat, but he's still reading to her.
All. The. Feels.
And the dude in the hat who's clearly trying not to listen? For sure he's dying to know if the princess gets rescued and they live happily ever after. He's like "hurry up man, I get off at the next stop! I need to know!"
Sometimes dads have trouble connecting with or understanding their daughters. They're afraid of not knowing what to say when it comes to boys and boobs, periods and parties. The foundations for trust and communication start at an early age and this dad is clearly no slouch.
12 Homework Dad
Look closely.... is it math? OH MY GOD it's math!!
Parents dread few things as much as they dread math homework.
If this was the 1950s, '60s or 70s, this dad would have come home from work, put down his briefcase, loosened his tie, poured himself a scotch and retreated to the den to watch the news and decompress while mom put dinner on the table and helped the kids with their homework.
Thank goodness more dads are now rolling up their sleeves and getting in there to conquer the homework beast.
Who cares if mom is in the kitchen making dinner or cleaning up? It takes a lot to run a household and everyone has their jobs. These parents clearly know how to divide and conquer.
These days more and more dads are taking on the traditionally "pink" jobs like homework, laundry and shopping for clothes. As a result, little girls are growing up having an entirely different relationship with their fathers, because their dads are involved in their lives in so many different ways.
Not that old school dads weren't awesome, but the division of labour in each house tended to be more traditional so while mom was helping with homework, dad was fixing the car or building a shed. Nowadays, real dads do math, and that's an awesome thing.
11 Shower Dad
This is our kind of baby shower....
Can we just pause here for a second and appreciate the beauty of this photo? That skin, that chest, those arms... I mean, that is one cute baby.
Bathing is a great way for dads to bond with their babes. It's dad's opportunity to experience the same kind of closeness mom and baby have, especially if she's breastfeeding. Something about warm, soapy water and skin on skin contact makes for a great connection and cuddle sesh. And a shower vs. a bath is the best way of all.
Talk about a time saver! When everybody needs to get clean a dual shower is the fastest way to get 'er done. Five minutes in and out, no waiting for the tub to fill. And if all that running water makes baby pee, no problem! It just rinses right away. I don't know about you but I'd much rather have baby pee go directly down the drain than have her lounge around in it for 20 minutes.
10 Safety-first Dad
For most of us, learning to ride a skateboard was a rite of passage when growing up. And it probably wasn't something we learned from our parents. It was our older brothers, friends or throw-caution-to-the-wind-who-cares-if-your-parents-find-out-and-do-you-happen-to-own-a-helmet babysitter who taught us how to ride.
Sure, this could be the before picture, with the after picture featuring Junior giving a thumbs-up from the back of an ambulance, but we're pretty sure it ended well.
Being a dad means teaching your kids fun stuff while also keeping them safe. This dad knows that one of the greatest things you can do for your kids is to teach them to live and soar outside their physical comfort zone. What better way to bond with your kids then being right beside them when they do something for the first time? And if it doesn't end with an emergency room visit, that's even better.
At least we're taking it slow here, and wearing a helmet. And they do say longboards are safer than shortboards. Don't they?
What's next dad? Bungee jumping? Spear-fishing? Zip-lining?
9 Nature Dad
How cute is this? Nature dad teaching his little one about tidal pools. Or rocks. Or something... Maybe it's seaweed. We hope it's not seaweed. Or crabs. We hate crabs.
Wouldn't life be better if every house had an ocean in the backyard? Hours of fun for the whole family. Fishing, splashing, clam digging, beach bonfires ... the possibilities are endless. Growing up near the water presents a special opportunity for kids to learn about their world. The ocean brings out kids' natural curiosity, too. How many questions do you think the little one asked Daddy today?
"How deep is it?"
"What is a tide?"
"How many creatures live here?"
"Why is it so cold?"
Water is an endless source of amusement for kids, and a great way to teach them about the natural world. We love that Dad didn't just Google "ocean" and pass her the iPad while he played Candy Crush on his phone. He picked her up and took her there. This sure beats the Little Tikes water table she has in her backyard. Good luck getting her to play with that again, dad.
8 Saving Your Life Dad
Ah parenting ... a never-ending marathon of trying to keep your kids alive. We're pretty sure this Dad was just out for a nice afternoon of bonding, beer and baseball when all of a sudden he was called upon to save a life. That's a true dad right there. Everyone else is cowering and protecting themselves but this guy's like "Hold my beer, I gotta stop this bat from smashing my kid in the face."
Those cat-like reflexes have probably been honed through years of life-saving maneuvers such as this one. We have a feeling this kid might be THAT kid. You know, the one that gets beaned by the ball no matter he's standing? We're pretty sure Dad's had some practice springing into action to prevent catastrophic injury. Just another day at the office, in the department of life-saving heroics for this guy.
They thought their father-son baseball outing was going to be about sunshine, popcorn and cold drinks; about the seventh-inning stretch and taunting the other team's mascot. Now they get to go home and tell mom what happened. So mom, do you want the good news or the bad news first?
7 No Fear Dad
Peek a boo, I see you.
Let's just take a moment to respect the awesomeness of this Dad. Not only is he there, in the bra department making selections and giving advice, he's also posing for photos. He's not exactly owning it, like super hero dad, but he's also got nothing to hide. We can't be sure whether it's life in general or just the bra shopping that's getting him down but we should respect the effort.
Here's how we thing the shopping conversation went down:
"Dad, I need a bra."
"A bra. For my boobs."
"Ummm... okay, let's go shopping."
And then he proceeds to pick the most sensible, no-nonsense, lace-free, "home by 9:30" bra he could find. Which is genius, right? Show me a dad who wouldn't jump at the chance to give his daughter zero incentive to take off her clothes. He's probably like "buy two, heck, buy three. Do you need some white cotton briefs while we're here?"
This guy might be on the stricter, more conservative side of the dad heap but we still love him simply for being there and for being man enough to preserve the moment. Parenting isn't all sunshine and roses. Sometimes it's shopping for bras and sucking it up when your kid asks you to do something and you think "actually, I'd rather not." But you do it anyway because that's what being a dad is.
Next stop, tampons!
6 "I Got This" Dad
Speaking of bras and tampons... shout out to the dads who do their daughter's hair. And by "do" we mean braids, ponytails, up-dos, even curls. Not just slapping on a baseball cap or running a brush through the tangles.
We mean shout out to the guys who buy elastics, use the right brush, and don't bat an eye when their little girl says "I want a fishtail braid wrapped around my forehead and a chignon at the bottom." The guys who rock this are the world's true heroes.
Most dads are waaaaaaay out of their comfort zone when it comes to hair but not this guy, this guy rocks it. Look at the laser focus and the confidence, the way he's working those strands. This is a man on a mission. She wanted a ponytail so she's getting a ponytail, dammit.
Pretty sure somebody has somebody else wrapped around her little finger. She's all "After he's done with my hair I'm gonna get him to bake me some muffins and clean my room.
5 Boy Band Dad
If you drew a picture of hell for dads, we're pretty sure it would look like a boy band concert. Thousands of screaming girls, warm up acts, selfie sticks, lasers, crop tops, pyrotechnics, $50 t-shirts, moving stages.... it's all just too much!
Sometimes a Dad just needs to retreat into himself and think about cars and fishing. And sometimes he just needs to take a nap. In the middle of the show. With earplugs.
But you know what? He knows where his daughter is and he knows she's safe. At least, when he wakes up he will know these things. This dad would rather be out until all hours listening to music he probably hates, than worry his little girl is somewhere she shouldn't be, with people she shouldn't be with. This is the ultimate dad move and our hearts just grew three sizes.
We also enjoy the fact that he's figured out no matter where he is and what he's doing, bedtime can still be 10 p.m. And no one around him seems the least bit bothered by the fact he's sleeping through the show. If this guy wants to pay $150 to nap in a tiny concert hall seat, then by all means, go crazy. It's just one less person to compete with for backstage passes
4 Dress Up Dad
"Please don't take my picture, please don't take my picture, please don't take my picture."
As this Dad is about to discover, being a princess is hard work. You have to look and be fabulous all the time. Flawless make up, perfect hair, pouffy dresses. Not to mention the wands, the ponies, the balls and all that exhausting charity work. Yup, looks like it's time for Prince Charming to take a crash course in all things pink and sparkly.
Wait until she pulls out the craft table. Can't wait to see Dad once his black t-shirt has been bedazzled from here to Kingdom Come.
Somebody tell this guy that real men do wear princess hats. No really, they do. But nobody tell him that princess time is all the time and he could be here for awhile. In fact, he might as well invite the girls over and pull out that Easy Bake oven. And girl, never mind that he doesn't seem all that into it. You just keep doing your thing and racking up those Instagram likes, he'll come around.
3 Value Of A Dollar Dad
"Kids, back in my day we had to get up a 4 a.m. to feed the chickens, milk the cows and slop the pigs. Then we had to walk 18 miles to school, all uphill."
Yup, life on the farm was never easy. These kids are about to discover the value of hard work. Soon they'll be hunched over the paper, comparing hog and grain prices and fretting about the weather.
But until then, they're just gonna enjoy riding around on this tractor in blissful ignorance until dad drops the bomb. And we're pretty sure the son is going to take it the hardest. He's all "this is AMAZING! Again Daddy, again!"
Dads are great at dropping bombs, aren't they? They lull you into submission with tractor rides and cuddly bunnies until wham! it's time to kill your dinner. There's no one better to teach you the laws of nature than your dad. Parenting is about passing on your wisdom and experience to the next generation, even if it involves sharp knives and closed barn doors.
But let's not tell them that yet. Let's let them enjoy their tractor ride in peace. Right now they think farm life is magical for everyone, not just the non-edible ones. Don't spoil it.
2 Halloween Dad
The force is strong with these two.
Is there anything cuter than matching costumes? This dad is being the Princess Leia to his daughter's Han Solo and we LOVE it! Pretty sure these two have seen every Star Wars movie ever made and can most likely drop quotes like nobody's business. They were probably the first ones in line for Rogue One, too.
And come to think of it, this might not even be Halloween. Maybe it's just Saturday.
As for the costumes, the guns are a tad concerning but we must admit, they do complete the look. As do dad's side buns. Not sure why he needs DAD on his belt, though. It's not like anyone will confuse him for mom. Or maybe he's worried people will think he's the real Princess Leia and start mobbing him for autographs.
He's like "hold on honey, I'm just gonna make sure people know I'm your father so we don't cause a riot."
We love it when dads put their egos aside and do what makes their littles happy. This is a memory mini Han will cherish forever. And if dad wants to start a side hustle as a Princess Leia impersonator, we're pretty sure he can make a go of it.
1 All Around Awesome Dad
How great is this?
Not content to have his kids ride around on ordinary wheelchairs, this champion dad created How To Train Your Dragon chairs and they're AWESOME. Please excuse the profanity but these babies kick loads of ass. Let's assume they also fly and breathe fire because those seem like necessary standard features.
These miraculous feats of engineering are sheer genius.
Ten minutes earlier, mom was like "you're spending way too much time in the garage, Hank." Then Hank wheels these bad boys out and it's all "this is why I married him. He's the greatest father EVER."
When asked, we're pretty sure dad shrugged away his awesomeness like, "Ya, I built that. In the garage. With my bare hands. No plans, just my mechanical instincts and intense commitment to badassery. Next up, a flying saucer for the wife."
We're in awe, not only of the finished product but of dads who build and plan and create for the sole purpose of making their kids happy.
Our inner mom is wondering if those chairs come with seat belts but we'll save that question for another day.