The next time you are on Facebook, pay special attention to the comments people make about fathers and their kids:

“My husband is babysitting the kids tonight so I can get out of the house!”

“Did Daddy dress the baby today?”

“Wait—he stays at home with the kids so you can work?”

What are we doing when we say these sorts of things? In an article on the Huffington Post, Ashley Miller explains that we are talking about dads like they’re an inept accessory to parenting.

Fathers are an integral part of parenting. Some fathers are up for 2 a.m. feedings. Others look forward to mornings of eating Fruit Loops and watching cartoons with their young children. Even more are driving their kids to basketball practice, picking them up after school, and helping them practice their spelling words.

Here are a few things that you shouldn’t be saying to fathers:

“You stay at home with the kids? Wow.” Sometimes, saying something like this to a father can be taken as demeaning toward both the father and the mother; it sounds as though the wife is expected to stay at home with the kids and the father should be the “breadwinner.”

In 2016, that isn’t the case. An at-home dad—any father who is the primary caregiver of his children while his partner works outside the home—isn’t out of the norm anymore. According to the Pew Research Center, the number of fathers who are at home with their children has nearly doubled since 1989.

“Is Dad babysitting?” When you see a father out with his children, it isn’t funny to refer to a father as a babysitter. As Aaron Gouveia says on Daddy Files, you can’t babysit your own kids. A father isn’t a paid caretaker; he’s a father. If you don’t look at a mother with her kids and ask if she is babysitting, then don’t say it to a father.

“Daddy must have dressed you this morning!” If you see a child with mismatched socks, pants that don’t match their shirt, or an NFL jersey over a princess gown, don’t assume that the father dressed them this morning. Although you might be just making a joke, it can come off as sexist and judgmental.

As long as the child is dressed for the elements, who cares if a two-year-old’s fashion sense is a little off? The only time you should be concerned about a child’s wardrobe is if he’s only wearing a t-shirt on a cold, snowy January day or if she has on a sweatshirt and long pants on a 100 degree day. And, of course, on picture day.

Instead of saying something negative, focus on the positive. Just like for mothers, being a father isn’t an easy job, but it’s one of the most rewarding.

If you’d like to set up a time to meet up with Reka, you can contact her by phone at 402-881-8125, by email at, or via Twitter or Facebook.

photo credit: Drop Off and Pick Up Your Children Here at the Pharmacy via photopin (license)