Silly Daddy, Only Mommies Cook and Clean!


As we all know, the Swedes do pretty much everything better than us and it seems that even their advertising is more parent focused, while ours remains caught in archaic gender roles.

As a mom, I see it every day. I am bombarded with ads for cleaning products and diapers and toys. I type the word "mom" into my search engine and suddenly I am inundated.

How have we come so far in so many ways and stayed so stuck in so many others?

I have a friend whose partner is a stay at home dad to their two children and he is often appalled at the commercials he sees on television. Dad is inept at best and gets to make instant meals while all the real cooking and cleaning is left to mom who sometimes shakes her head with bemused cheer:

"boys will be boys," she seems to say.


The ad above suggests that the only person who might want to do the cooking is dear old mom. There is no indication that perhaps the parents split the cooking. Imagine the difference if at the end of the equation there was a male head, too:

"Stress-free parents."

Somehow we have some so far in so many ways, but I still see my feminist female friends doing the buk of the cooking and the cleaning while their male spouses -- who often share the same education level -- work and do little else.

Dad is largely considered another child in the house, a rather oafish brute who can't get anything right. And yet so many men would like to be something more.

Sometimes it seems like it is every one's fault. Our culture at large rewards father for "showing up," praising a man for doing little more than taking a child to the grocery store. A recent article in Newsweek suggests that men are ready to reimagine themselves as well.

As the novelist Michael Chabon discovered on a trip to the grocery store with his son, society still expects very little from fathers. “You are such a good dad,” a woman told him as he waited in line to pay. “I can tell.” Exactly what she could tell was a mystery to Chabon, who recounts the story in his 2009 essay collection Manhood for Amateurs. But clearly no woman would earn kudos for toting her kids around the frozen-foods aisle. “The handy thing about being a father,” he later concludes, “is that the historic standard is so pitifully low.”

Indeed. And it is not fair to anyone. Not the mothers who feel overworked and under appreciated. Not the father who get treated in family courts like little more than ATM machines with legs. And certainly not the children who benefit so much from active fathers who take a real interest in their lives and homes.

It is high time we chucked our old ways aside and tried a new way of thinking.

What are the gender roles in your house?


Image via

time for mom, bedtime, bathtime


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nonmember avatar Katy

I've been saying for years that I hate seeing women in nearly every cleaning product commercial. Or the commercials for snacks when it's the MOM at home after school to feed the kids. Never a dad cleaning up or changing the diapers or driving the mini-van to sports practice. I don't want my kids to grow up seeing that and thinking that's the woman's role. On the other hand, I'm marrying a woman, so they'll see the best of both worlds (I stay home and play house-wife, she plays working mom) and it won't seem all that unusual to them.

MissF... MissForth

I've been thinking about this myself lately. Where I am from I knew few fathers who could even imagine taking their kids to a store by themselves so I have been guilty of looking at fathers who do and being very impressed. But now that I have a child of my own I am surprised at how little it seems to take to be a" good dad". And we act as though they are a wonder if the child even gets to know who they are. It's made me sad to see just how few descent examples of fatherhood I have. And I wonder how we brake the chain.

nonmember avatar Allboys

We have the semi traditional male female rolls. My husband works outside of the home and I work inside of the home. We both care for an equal portion of our livelihood and we both view it that way.

When my husband is home though he is just as involved as I am. He takes an equal role in parenting and caring for our home when he is home. He does all he can to be the best father and husband he can for us all. In fact he actually takes sick days to care for me and the kids if I am not feeling well. He would never dream of behaving the way we have seen some fathers behaving and I would never tolerate it.

081109 081109

My hubby works part time nights and weekends and I work full time days.  He is pretty close to being the stay at home daddy and he definitely notices how amazed people seem to be that dads like him exist.  He even gets people in the grocery stores coming up to him and telling him how nice it is to see a dad taking on more responsiblity, etc...

Histo... HistoryMamaX3

We fall pretty much into the "traditional" gender roles... but that is because dad works full time (and then some) and I get to hang out with my crew during the day. Hence, it is my job to cook and clean and so forth... However, my husband has done his time as the stay-at-home dad and I worked full time. It isn't because we believe that is how men and women should be- just the way that it works when one of you is home and the other is working outside the home.

I'm rather happy with my situation too... wouldn't change it for anything.

squish squish

I totally agree with you about the way society views fathers, and have been guilty of it myself. BUT, whoever stays home should pick up most of the home slack... and it just happens that the majority of those stay-at-home parents are women, not men.

As a stay at home mom, I would LOVE to see commericals that DO NOT have the oaf of a father that can't figure anything out. I would LOVE to see some where the dad walks in and shows a ton of appriciation for mom. I would love to see them working as a team. I would love to see them showing the dad more involved with parenting rather then just being protrayed as an "older brother" type. It really does a disservice to families in general, no matter what the working situation may be. I would also love more with the father as the primary caretaker as well.

If I have a son, I don't want him to be treated as if he is incapable of doing "mom" things. That is silly. I also don't want my daughters to grow up feeling like they can't rely on their husbands, or that they have to "make" them help.

tazdvl tazdvl

My husband helps with cooking and putting groceries away but I still have to make him help with cleaning.

StayA... StayAtStoveDad

I'm actually a dad, but I thought I'd weigh in here because I do most of the cooking for my family. There are many other fathers like myself, and I feel like they deserve a voice. I blog about my time in the kitchen at


Amy Vachon

For dedicated discussion of a way out of traditional gender roles, please visit our website! Thanks for a great blog post. -Amy

Megan Dodson

My husband and I are both full time workers. We are up and out of the house by 530 am and usually not home until around 600 pm. I am still the one that carries the bulk of most house work. I do the majority of cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, baths... I have talked to him about it and he always says thats just how he grew up. I was raised the same way, but it doesn't mean that I don't need help. Being a parent is hard and it is really hard whemnI feel like I am doing it alone depite my husband being here.

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