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Does (or did) your child's father change diapers?
December 20, 2013 at 1:22 PM

Dads Who Don't Change Diapers Are the New Deadbeat Dads

by Adriana Velez

dad babyWe all know the "detached dad" myth. That guy who reclines in his easy chair, reading the paper, while mom chases the kids and cooks dinner simultaneously. That guy who has never changed a diaper in his life because that's not his job. That guy with selective deafness who never seems to hear his baby crying at night or the kids arguing at the dinner table. Dad the "apprentice parent." Well guess what? A new survey is busting that detached dad myth wide open. Dads are into this hands-on parenting thing, in a big way.

In a nationwide survey of 4,000 dads, 9 out of 10 fathers of kids 5 or younger said they change diapers and bathe their kids several times a week. They also said they play with their kids and eat with them all the time. And 2 out of 3 read to their kids several times a week. Fathers of kids over 5 also claim to take an active role in parenting. Dads are more involved overall than they were just a few years ago in 2002. And they know it -- nearly 90 percent of dads said they thought the were doing at least a good job of parenting.

Well, that last one isn't surprising. Men usually aren't as riddled with guilt and self-doubt like moms are. (SIGH) I mean, if they're changing all those diapers, they're clearly living above expectations, so of course that makes them awesome dads. Also, it's worth mentioning that no one asked these dads' partners if they're really doing all this work. It's all self-reported data. But still, let's go with it.

Moms, I have two take-aways for us all.

1. Guys want to be good dads and they think they've got this whole daddy business down. So fine, let's hold them to a higher standard and let them really perform. Go for it, guys! We'll be at the bar down the block if you need us.

2. We should lower our expectations for ourselves to dad levels, because clearly that is working for the guys. Changed diapers "several times a week"? You get a gold star! Bathed your kid? High-five, you are doing "at least a good job" of parenting.

Seriously, though, I'm happy to see how seriously dads seem to take their jobs. They get it! Dads know that the real emotional fulfillment of fatherhood comes in all those little tasks they do for their kids every single day.

How do you think your husband or partner would respond to this survey? Does he think he's a great dad, too?


  • frndlyfn
    December 20, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    He was a great dad and still is.  He took over baths when she was a baby so that is their bonding time.   I did the messy diapers whereas he could handle the urine ones.

  • MamaRae85
    December 20, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    While I believe that there are guys who fit the "detached dad" stereotype, my husband did/does change diapers. He is very involved. What I'm the most thankful for is how willing to do CLOTH diapers he's been, even though using cloth was totally my decision! <3

  • Molimomma
    December 20, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    My husband is the poster boy for the "detached dad" in three & a half years he maybe changed 12 diapers...that's probably generous. He never fed him baby food, ever. He has made him a PBJ once, I almost died from the shock of it. My son won't allow him to help with the potty at all he will come find me, even if he was sitting in daddy's lap he will come downstairs to find me. I once came home from the grocery store to my son hysterically screaming under a table in the living room because he had pooped in his underwear and didn't want my husband to touch him. It took me about 45 minutes to calm him down AFTER I had cleaned him up. I have given him every bath and done every bedtime through illness, migraine headaches, even one bout of stomach issues. My son worships my husband but only looks to him for play time not for any sort of care. I often worry what will become of him if I ever get hit by a truck or something. Hopefully my mother could come and help. 

  • scraphappy12
    December 20, 2013 at 2:01 PM
    Mine does diapers but not baths when they are really little. After the first year or so he will do baths. It I think he's too nervous when they Are that little
  • Mtdewwid
    December 20, 2013 at 2:02 PM
    My son is 17 days old. He has changed one diaper since he was born. I cooked dinner the day I came home from the hospital while holding the baby.

    I have two kids that aren't his and he always helped so much with them before. Baby is here now and I'm lucky he does the dishes after dinner.
  • jobberwocky
    December 20, 2013 at 2:05 PM
    I've been blessed. My husband changes diapers, plays with our son, even would help with midnight feedings when he was younger.
  • KyliesMom5
    December 20, 2013 at 2:41 PM


  • withsecond
    December 20, 2013 at 2:52 PM
    My oldest sons father would not change a diaper. I would go to work and change my son before leaving. I'd come home 8 hours later and he'd be in the same diaper. It would be full of shit and down to his knees. He'd have a horrible rash too.
    I lost my shit on his father and asked him how he was okay with doing that to his child. He just said but I'll puke. Then you puke asshole! I ended up having to ask his grandmother to change him for me.

    My husband on the other hand was awesome with our two. If they needed a change then he'd change them, no issues. I didn't even have to ask.
  • livric
    by livric
    December 20, 2013 at 2:53 PM
    Yup, DH was and is a great Dad. He would feed, change, bath, rock, read stories and play with the kids. He loves his kids :)
  • Tannaris
    December 20, 2013 at 3:08 PM
    He does everything I do. He's a great dad!

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