Dad's Too-Real Cartoons Nail the Reality of Being a Stay-at-Home Parent

comic
Ståle Gerhardsen

Most moms know that the struggle is all too real for stay-at-home parents of toddlers. Between chasing the kids around the house, begging them to put on a pair of clean pants, finding a sock that has been lodged behind the couch, and then dealing with the tantrums and fits -- it's enough to make any person go a little crazy. But for Norwegian artist Ståle Gerhardsen, his paternity leave, which made him a stay-at-home dad, is all of our gain. The father of two creates the most hilarious cartoons in which he depicts the joy and chaos of caring for his two kids.

  • Gerhardsen has always been a professional artist, but his son's birth inspired him to change the course of his artwork.

    "As an artist I normally have one million projects at the same time -- an exhibition, some commissions, a couple of murals, some talks, and so on and so forth," he tells CafeMom. "But when I was on paternity leave with my son, I put all my other projects down. Put everything on hold. For four months. Just focusing on my son. I knew that it was lots of work, so I wanted to go all in."

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  • The dad has made over 1,000 drawings of his children, which you can find under the hashtag #matpakketegninger on Instagram.

    "Anything can be turned into a funny comic," he says. "There is so much love and relatable stuff in all the everyday situations. It's all about the angle or approach."

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  • Gerhardsen's drawings are such a hit because they capture the everyday struggles, like the aftermath of giving baby a bath.

    Baby: 1; Bathroom: 0.

  • Or this one, which shows that at the end of the day, dads are always going to be left carrying all the stuff.

    He calls this one "Dads Are Mules," and unfortunately, it's kind of true. Sorry, dads!

  • Though he calls this drawing "Young MJ," we would call it, "The Mystery Spot Where My Kids Threw My Car Keys."

    Good luck with that.

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  • And we have to admit, Gerhardsen looks like a super fun dad. Check out this awesome dance party!

    He calls this one, "There's Always Time to Dance!"

  • This drawing is a cautionary tale entitled "Don't let Porridge Dry. Ever!"

    Ståle Gerhardsen

    A lesson some of us have had to learn TOO MANY times. 

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  • Gerhardsen says his kids know they are the subjects of his work, and they love it!

    "My kids and I draw all the time," he adds. "All over the place. We've got one wall in our home where we draw." Honestly, we're a little jealous. 

  • The dad's cartoons are a hit online, but he's got ambitious plans for his work offline as well.

    He recently published a collection of his favorite drawings in a book called Pappaperm, and he says his secret dream is to someday draw Ellen. "I hope Ellen DeGeneres reads this and invites me on her show," he says. "I would love to draw her live [on air]." Ellen, the ball is in your court!

  • Gerherdsen also shared this picture of his real-life inspirations with CafeMom. Too cute!

    You can find more of his work on his website and Instagram. And you can support Gerherdsen on his Patreon account. 

stay at home moms fathers