There’s no doubt that being a working mom nowadays is thoroughly exhausting. It’s also deeply rewarding, but did we mention it’s exhausting? From the morning rush to the bedtime scramble, every moment feels like we’re barely treading water, trying to do the best for our kids and our career. Then, of course, we feel guilty about the compromises we strike just to make it all work. And then we feel guilty for feeling guilty. Why are we giving ourselves such a hard time?
Good question. You know who doesn’t spend the whole day feeling guilty about taking a shortcut or two when necessary? Working dads. Without the societal pressure to be perfect parents, it simply doesn’t faze them—or even occur to them to worry—when they aren’t on their A game. That’s not a criticism, by the way. Working dads are great dads, and there’s no proof that intensive parenting is good for kids anyway. Maybe we working moms should take a page from working dads, and give ourselves a break from time to time. Here are some of the times your working dad partner probably doesn’t stress—and neither should you.
1. Sending the kids to daycare when he has the day off from work.
Was it ever really a question? He'll be catching up on yard work and hitting the gym—as he should.
2. Feeding the kids pancakes and ice cream for dinner.
It’s calories. They kids are still alive. All is well. (And it's more fun anyways.)
3. Dressing the kids for daycare like a tornado that whipped through a secondhand store.
Stains? Check. Tears? Check. Clashing colors? Check. Hey, at least all the pertinent parts are covered.
4. The state of the house when guests come over.
If the guests don't like it, they can put on gloves and get to scrubbing.
5. Letting the kids veg out in front of the TV or iPad.
Hey, it’s educational. Sometimes.
6. Skipping the class field trip.
He'll just catch the next one—if he can.
7. Skipping a bath or two.
Germs build immunity, right?
8. Skipping a soccer practice or two.
He’ll be there for the big game, but every single scrimmage? Pass.
9. Giving simple gift cards to friends, family and your kid's teacher.
He won’t be cruising Pinterest at midnight to come up with the perfect handmade creation, or turning pipe cleaners into wreaths. Because why should he? Better question: Why should anyone?
10. His dad bod.
And he wasn't even the one who carried a kid for 9 months.
11. Donating cash to the school fundraiser instead of harassing his colleagues to buy 20 sets of sheets.
Or chocolate bars. Or coupon books. Or baked goods. Or books. Or popcorn tins.
12. Going out with the guys.
He needs that time. You’re entitled to your own.
13. Tucking leftovers in the kids’ lunch box until they’re eaten … or green.
Because no one has time to cut sandwiches into heart shapes.
14. Not checking the daycare app. Ever.
He (rightly) assumes they’re feeding your child.
15. Ignoring the laundry every now and then in favor of playing video games.
If you’re not a gamer, substitute playing video games with watching Sex and the City reruns, and enjoy.
—Audrey Goodson Kingo and Meredith Bodgas
This story originally appeared in Working Mother.