Twin Cities Mom Collective

When Dad’s in Charge

This is what life looks like when dad takes care of the kids.

The other morning I came downstairs to find my twin toddlers sitting on top of the table. They were using pieces of bacon as spoons to slurp left over cereal milk into their mouths. Of course, spilling all over themselves in the process. When dad takes care of the kids.

Their hair was a mess and their diapers were so wet they were practically sagging to the floor. When dad takes care of the kids.

The rest of the dirty breakfast dishes were still out and the high chairs were sticky with eggs and smears of jelly. When dad takes care of the kids.

My three-year-old was running around naked, and had obviously been working his way through all of his favorite activities, as evidenced by the puzzles, markers, coloring books, planes, and the Legos that were strewn all over the house. When dad takes care of the kids.

My three-month-old baby was still in his sleep sack, kicking on the floor, and he smelled. When dad takes care of the kids.

To put it plainly, I had entered a disaster zone. The main reason?

Dad was in charge. 

Things sometimes look a little different when Dad’s in charge, don’t they? Onesies might be put on backwards, stripes and polka-dots are deemed complimentary, bibs are optional, and feeding is stress-free. In other words, details are just details.

When I leave my kids with my husband and return to find any or all of the above happening, my first reaction is to sigh. Sure, he may have offered to let me sleep in, take a break, or get some other work done. But was it really worth it if I feel like I have to play catch up when I get back? If I had just stuck around the whole time, I wouldn’t have let it get out of hand. I would have maintained some sort of control.

What I’m really saying is, I would have micromanaged him.

Ew. I don’t want to be that wife. Not really, anyway. So then why do I find myself wanting to ask him why diapers haven’t been changed, why clothes haven’t been put on, and why hasn’t he at least put the dirty dishes in the sink? Why do I wish he’d do it my way?

I like how I do things. I like that I have a system that works well when I’m in charge. I’ve worked hard and learned through trial and error the best ways to keep the ship from sinking. So in my heart, I want my husband to do it like I do because I think my way is best for the kids.

But when Dad’s in charge of taking care of the kids, I’m learning that my way is NOT necessarily the best way. I’m not saying we don’t need to have consistency in certain areas because we absolutely do, but sometimes I need to “let the details just be details.” I need to be okay with the way he loads them into the car, what he offers for snack time, or how he chooses to forget about the mess. I need to let dad be dad, and not try to make him be mom.

The truth is, he tends to play with and challenge the kids more than I do. He has this amazing ability to enjoy the moment without feeling the pressure of needing to get the dishes washed or the laundry folded. Sometimes that annoys me, but in reality, it’s such a gift that I can let him give to our kids. And it’s not that he doesn’t intend to clean up the mess, he just doesn’t feel the need to do it while the kids want to play with him.

The things that drive me nuts don’t phase them at all. All they know is that Dad is giving them his undivided attention.

At the end of the day, I’m pretty lucky to have a man like him by my side in this whole parenthood thing. In huge part, we fell in love because I knew he’d be an incredible dad someday. Now that we’re in someday, I need to trust him. I want to trust him. The more I encourage instead of question, the more he’ll continue to step up and be the best dad for our kids. Because when Dad’s in charge, my kids are laughing. They’re engaged. They’re having a blast. And, they’re deeply loved.


Original post was published January 2015


Related posts

Reading Tips for Busy Families | New Horizon Academy

Twin Cities Mom Collective

5 Fun Preschool-Age Field Trips in the Twin Cities

Rachel Nevergall

To the Kid Who Told My Son the Truth About Santa

Erin Statz


Jamie January 21, 2015 at 6:58 AM

I love this! I have a 3 month old (our first) and I often catch myself criticizing every little thing he does. During bath time I make sure he got all his crevices, ask if he used a clean wash cloth, “is the towel clean” “is the water too hot” as if he has no idea what he is doing. I imagine this makes me feel pretty crappy, because I know I would HATE if he was the one criticizing me. I need to learn to just relax and let him do things his own way and our baby is going to be just fine 🙂

Jordan Olstead January 22, 2015 at 9:03 AM

My dad and my 4 brothers used to have marshmallow and balled up sock fights. When my dad was doing the laundry whenever he matched the socks he would ball them up and throw them at us. We would then promptly retaliate by throwing the sock balls right back. Or snack time was a marshmallow thrown at lightspeed while we were playing with lego on the living room floor. We would always try and clean it up before mom got home, but more than once did she find a shriveled ‘mallow’ underneath an arm chair or the couch.

John Andreeson January 22, 2015 at 11:46 AM

I disagree with the assumption that when dad is in charge, things get messy. But that’s because I’m a stay-at-home dad and find serenity in a clean and organized house.

Hayley January 22, 2015 at 11:02 PM

John, I can definitely appreciate that. Maybe it is more the stay at home element rather than the mom/dad element? In other words, the person who spends the most time taking care of kids probably has developed a well-oiled machine for getting things done and maintaining a level of order. If you don’t do it day in and day out, I think the details matter less. That parent doesn’t need to concern themselves with the balance of it all and can just enjoy the moment. Just a theory. 🙂

Molly October 6, 2018 at 4:15 PM

Yup. At our house, Dad is the clean one and Mom is the mess maker/mess leaver. Has been even before kids. We both work so it has nothing to do with who is with the kid more.
We both work on letting the other do things their way and not micromanaging.

Whitney January 22, 2015 at 7:31 PM

I asked my husband to read this. He really appreciated this. Im guilty of micromanaging.

Karen January 23, 2015 at 11:24 AM

My husband once said “stop micromanaging me.” I was that wife and mother. I had to change. It took awhile, but I did change 🙂 My husband has changed as well as the boys have aged. We are a great team, the hubs and I.

Ashley @ Running with Skissors January 23, 2015 at 6:49 PM

I can relate. Except my husband is the one who DOES get all the dishes cleaned up, the laundry folded and gets the kids to clean their rooms and the basement. That’s annoying because it makes me feel like I’m failing at my job, because when I’m in charge it’s a mess here!! Anyway, thanks for sharing. It’s good to know we’re not alone.

Jaimi@TheStayatHomeMomSurvivalGuide February 16, 2015 at 5:21 AM

I am blessed with a husband who actually asks me for my feedback on how he does things. Truth be told we both fail at times to clean because since adding our twins to the family, there is less time and more mess. It has been an adjustment and we both have learned to work more as a team because of it.

Christina February 16, 2015 at 2:50 PM

When Dad’s in charge, he let’s them do whatever they want to. I will find my 4 years old with a pop-sickle at 0700 AM. Now when I try to stop this, I become the bad guy and my kids are happy to see me go to work and happy to be with their dad. When I don’t intervened, they get sick and I feel guilty. I always feel like the bad guy.


Leave a Comment