Top 20 Things Dads Wish Mums Knew

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During pregnancy, birth and beyond, the world focuses on mum. I assume this is because of the physical nature of childbearing, giving birth and more often than not, mum taking on the majority of the childcare. I fully understand why this happens, but fail to comprehend why this is so often at the expense of supporting dad.


Mum’s AND Dad’s both need support and encouragement. When this simple equation is missed, it means that often dads get the short end of the stick and people can easily overlook what’s going on with dad. Times have changed. And these outdated practices and beliefs need to change too.

I recently came across an article titled, ‘Top 6 Things Mums Wish Dads Knew.’ Firstly it made me wonder who they asked to get some of those responses and secondly, it highlighted the many similarities between mums and dads. Because we are one and the same – parents. Thirdly it made me question what things dads wished mums knew. We decided to ask The Dad Network and as expected there were some common themes. So, from fantastic, real & honest dads, here are the top things dads wish mums knew.

      1. “The baby is not yours, it is ours.”
      2. “That it’s nice to be thanked once in a while for providing for the family. I tell my missus I’m proud of her and that she’s doing a fantastic job of bringing up our 2 girls, but I’ve not been thanked once in 2 & 1/2 years for my role.”
      3. That we wish we could have had more time off when our children were 1st born to spend with them rather than having to go back to work so quickly
      4. “That our way of parenting is just as good, even if we do things a little differently to how they would.”
      5. “That we wish that women’s media posts don’t tar all men with the same brush.”
      6. “That were not useless and ignorant as we’re made out to be.
      7. “That we hate being made out to be the second parent. We are not. We are both equal”
      8. “We are not mind readers; if you want us to do something you need to ask. If we’ve been out all day and have a list of 37 tasks already there’s a chance we may forget things sometimes, reminding is ok, making us feel bad is not ok.”
      9. “That we respect the job they do more than they realise and expect that in return.”
      10. “That we need verbal encouragement just as much as they do.”
      11. “I wish mums knew how thankful we fathers are that they had given birth to our child/children and how sexy and attractive they are. They always have been but even more so now that they are a mother.”
      12. “During childbirth and breastfeeding, etc dads just feel helpless. They see their loved one in utter agony, midwives and doctors rushing about and the only thing they can do is say “breath”. And it’s no different during breastfeeding, as you want to help and support but in truth there is little you can do to take over and you feel helpless no matter how much you try and contribute.”
      13. Sex is not currency.”
      14. “We know this is rough for them, but we’re also struggling with the tremendous changes that are happening in our own way; there is no other time in our lives that we feel as vulnerable, helpless, overlooked, or unappreciated.”
      15. Watch out for signs of depression, men suffer with depression, anxiety, mental health issues and PND too.”
      16. “Our relationship is going to need more deliberate, conscious effort than it ever has before. And we are both responsible for that.”
      17. “That I miss my kids when I’m at work and appreciate all that she does with them.”
      18. “Despite how much I work it honestly kills me to not be at home spending more time with them, that I wish I was home every night for a traditional supper and to tuck them into bed every single night!”
      19. “We are exhausted too.”
      20. “Dads feel too.”

The mums shared their thoughts and now the dads have shared theirs. There are many similarities  and as far as I can see one small change could make all the difference. It seems communication is key. If we can speak openly and honestly without judgment, if we listen to each other and try to really hear what the another person is saying then parenting will be a much easier job for both mums and dads. We are all parents and all finding our feet on the new path of parenting. No one is the perfect parent and we are all learning on the job. We all like encouragement, we all need to feel loved and most importantly we all want to be the best parents we can be to the children we love.

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  1. Louise

    Great article and totally get everything you are saying, particularly point number 15. After a very traumatic second birth which resulted in my little boy being sent off to the neo natal unit for 10 days, my husband totally fell apart. Over a period of 6 weeks, my husband had a complete breakdown and spent 10 weeks in a psychiatric unit being treated for severe depression and psychosis. Men are totally overlooked and the trauma of birth, sleep deprivation and feeling overwhelmed by everything can affect men as much as women. Unfortunately, in my experience, men do not open up as much as women. The support men often require post birth simply does not exist.

    • Mark

      OMG I was only talking about this yesterday. So sad to hear Louise. Hope hes ok now.

    • Rachel Craig

      I hope he is now on the mend. Stress, traumatic experience and lack of sleep can take it’s toll. Hopefully your husband got the help and medical care he was needing. Maybe in time we will all become more aware and supportive in such times. In the past maybe with large families there was the nurturing which was required. Nowadays Health Care may have improved in some ways, it may well be the Social Support which is lacking, maybe due to nuclear families, smaller family units, busy lifestyles, pressures and targets within employment etc.

      Maybe in the future there will be more Parenting groups, maybe some specifically for those who have had babies that required care within a neonatal unit etc.

  2. Martin Lee

    Brilliant. My wife was reading this out to me earlier when I was driving and I was nodding furiously. Working shifts I especially agree with no.18!

  3. Rachel Craig

    Good article. My brother was very supportive of his partner and children, he worked full time and shift work. He I thought was a “New Man” before the term was used, now the term is outdated, he is a Grandfather. I am glad that Culture has changed and there is more Acceptance and Respect for Dads. Parents are important for children, though obviously Parents need to Communicate in their Shared Care role/s. Nowadays often both parents may work whils Grandparents or others provide Child Care.

    I believe my brother put himself under great pressure in supporting his partner, Caring for her and their children. Whilst he also worked full time and shift work. Depression hit him on occasions :- I supported him as best I could. Thee families both genuinely cared for the couple and children. Maybe the fact that my Dad died when we were children was part of the reason why my brother put so much into his role of Fatherhood. Luckily now he has regular contact with his Grandson, as Gran collects him from school due to both his parents being in full time employment. Karma maybe.

    I agree that Dads should be Recognised for their Role though what about other relatives who are supportive :- Such as Granparents, Aunts, Uncles, Great Aunts, Great Uncles and then friens etc and Godparents. Families vary in what support they have, though Acknowledgemnent, Appreciation etc is Respectful. I found a contrast with colleagues, many had good support from their children’s Grandparents, some mentioned this and how helpful it was. Whilst others did not seem to mention Granparents yet other colleagues would say they knew that they had such support as had seen the children with their Granparents at Nursery group etc. I suppose maybe it is expectations and attitude. I think previous Generations were more Respectful of others by Expressing Gratitude etc.

    Great blog. Best Wishes.

  4. Sarah

    This is a fantastic post. It makes me a little upset that this is the way some dads think. They shouldn’t feel like this. I guess mum’s sort of (in the nicest way possible) neglect the baby daddy’s feeling for a little while, after the new baby is born. I do agree with all the points, in particular the way women seem to think all men, and fathers are the same. That’s an awful way to think. Also..I didn’t actually know men could suffer with PND! I guess that’s just me being naive.
    All in all, brilliant post and very important to everyone, especially mums to read.
    Happy Christmas! xx

  5. Luke Greer

    I agree with this.
    Hopefully more Mums & Dads are made aware of this as it quite rightly says “communication is key”.

  6. Robert Butlin

    What clearly neither parent knows is that trespassing on railroad lines is dangerous.

  7. Ben Robertson

    Of all the things I’ve learned and been told around being a dad, one thing in particular has always stuck with me:

    Who is most important after the baby has arrived? You are… The parents. If you’re working together, communicating and appreciative, your baby will be absolutely fine.

  8. Corey Crawford

    I just read this. As I type this out, I am going through a heated divorce.

    Most of the divorce is centered on the shameful, mutual, actions that happened by both of us. However, it all started in earnest the day after my daughter was born.

    I didn’t know it, but I suffered from PND. I know my soon-to-be-ex did. She even tried to warn me about it. I didn’t pay enough attention to that warning. Nor did I know about the man’s version of PND. To make matters worse, I work in a job that requires me to be available at all times to work, even on my days off (when required). This commitment, along with the many choices that I had to make (quite against my will) in order to remain in this job, caused us to drift apart and both of us to feel like the other one didn’t care about the other. It also has taken me away from more than half of my daughter’s life. I got lucky with her first three years, but I have not often seen her since.

    I tried, the best I could, to make things work with my co-parent and went to some lengths to do so. So did she. Ultimately, it was not meant to be.

    All because neither of us could forsee that I would suffer from PND, and the fact that we couldn’t communicate well enough together (we communicated just fine with others, just not with each other) to work out our problems.

    I understand more than she thought of what she went through. I admit there are several things that, being male, I will not ever understand, but I understand more than I have ever been given credit for. This is a similar story to many men I have since seen in posts online in this very group.

    We need to be parents together. We need to be equal partners in this endeavor. We need to be able to work out our differences when our parenting styles conflict.

    But we husbands still love you wives more than any other woman. We chose you as much as you chose us. We are sincere when we do our best to compliment you when you are stressed. We do everything we can think of, and what you ask of us, to make you comfortable and feeling supported. We see and feel the stress you are constantly under, and are most often right in the middle of it with you dealing with an infant or child that either cannot or will not go to sleep at night.

    We do our best to show you all the love we know you and the children deserve. But we cannot be silent any longer about our own suffering. I speak from personal experience that men are often misdiagnosed as having an adjustment disorder rather than PND. And I also speak from experience about the damaging effects the lack of support for men can have upon the family. There is only ONE PND support group for men, and it is online only.

    We are not asking for you to take on any more than you already are as mothers. All we want is the recognition we need to keep standing beside you so we can carry you when we need to.

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