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You Know You’re a Mum When… (Written by a dad!)

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By Al Ferguson

Al Ferguson is the CEO and founder of The Dadsnet.

Published on 04/08/2015

You know you're a mum when

I was gobsmacked when the wife leant over in bed the other day to show me a post on the mighty Huffington post called, “You Know You’re a Dad When… 10 Unconventional Signs.” I didn’t know I’d be gobsmacked until I read it though. The first thing that hit me was that it was written by a mum. (And a lawyer…) WHAT?! Written by a mum?  What really shocked me was the overwhelming assumptions and stereotyping that had been made. I’ll give you some examples:

“…your manly actions have now been overtaken by nursery rhymes and baby talk.”

Since when is singing nursery rhymes and talking to your baby not manly?

“Your dream car is now an estate or MPV and not a sports car.”

Really? Our dream car? Or you mean the practical car that we have to get to fit all the crap in!

“You are afraid to say you are tired.”

Is this because all dads are fearing, feeble men who have to tread on egg shells around their partners?

“You prefer to eat in than go out for dinner.”

Maybe I’m speaking for myself, but I’d kill to eat out more. A date with the wife would be amazing!

“You are very speed aware.”

Do all men break the speed limit? This would make the traffic cops job a lot easier. Just arrest all men! Pfft!

“You know the names of all the CBeebies show hosts, but can no longer name all the players from your favourite football team.”

Because dads just sit their kids in front of CBeebies all day long? And then sit with them rather than help around the house. Yeah, that’s exactly what dads do.

“You’ve actually changed a nappy.”

I lost my cool at this stage. Dads have the same nappy change to time spent with baby rate as mums. Dads change nappies too! Jeez!

She then went on to refer to us as real men.

“So Dads, give yourselves a pat on the back. You have shown that life is no longer all about you (apart from the sleeping, but, hey, nobody is perfect). You have changed in more ways than one to put the needs and wants of your little one first. You can now proudly say you are a REAL MAN.”

Urgh… Infuriating. But just to check that I wasn’t over reacting due to my monthly cycle, I posted this in The Dad Network’s private dads group to get a second opinion. They felt the same as me. When you ask a network of over a 1000 dads and the general consensus is that this is stereotypical crap, someone has to take a stand.

Imagine if someone wrote these kind of things about mums. In fact, don’t imagine, because I have my own list below.

My post is similarly called, “You Know You’re a Mum When…10 ridiculous nonsensical signs that are utter BS”

#1 YOU’VE actually changed a nappy.

#2 You’ve put on weight because of all the takeaways and ready meals because you’ve no time to cook any more.

#3 YOU are now very speed aware and now drive even slower!

#4 You’re crying a lot over nothing at all, and you have probably blamed your partner.

#5 YOU know the names of all the CBeebies show hosts, but can no longer name all the main characters in TOWIE.

#6 You tell your friends that your hair is dip dyed because your roots are half the length of your hair.

#7 YOUR dream car is now a red one.

#8 YOU’RE tired. And don’t we all know it!

#9 YOU’RE feminine, girly, attractive actions have been overtaken by the sick on your shoulder and baby poo under your finger nails.

#10 YOU view women differently: You now see all women as powerful, independent strong women who can go through labour. And YOU view men differently: You see all men as pesky annoyances that caused you to go through labour.

“So Mums, give yourselves a pat on the back. You have shown that life is no longer all about you (apart from the sleeping, but, hey, nobody is perfect). You have changed in more ways than one to put the needs and wants of your little one first. You can now proudly say you are a REAL WOMAN.”

Now, obviously, I think that all these things are completely stereotypical and nonsense. Not for 1 second would I write anything like this seriously, but I want to make a point. Why is it ok to stereotype dads, but not mums? The parenting culture is shifting (and in many ways already shifted) and people have got to start realising that parenting is parenting whether you’re a mum or a dad.

The original post should have read like this:

You know you’re a dad when… You have a child! Simple and true.

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  1. Simon

    Good job, thanks for sticking your neck out and writing this response.

  2. Nick

    Good man great response!

    The original “writer” missed out “patronising sexist” from her bio, unless that comes under the “so much more” bit.

    Rather than choose to celebrate and praise the legions of men out there that are devoted to their kids she tried to be clever and funny (both fails) with this contemptuous clickbait drivel.


  3. Caleb

    The only way that article should work would be if it was explicitly limited to her husband. Then it would cruelly be honest too since her post is clearly based on anecdotal experience and stereotypes. I wouldn’t have a problem with “10 unexpected ways childbirth changed my husband” or some such similar.

  4. Rob Dray

    You have said what many were thinking but not able to say as eloquently ! Spot on – pat yourself on the back :)

  5. Matt

    This is amazing, keep up the good work!

  6. Monica Gilbert

    Thank you! I hate how it’s socially acceptable to put down dads (and husbands). While I had way more experience with babies than my husband, he’s been absolutely amazing as a dad. While I will admit that I do tease him sometimes about mishaps (just like he does to me), I’d never assume that he can’t handle caring for our daughter just because he’s a man. I have no problem leaving her with him because he’s fully capable. But I guess that doesn’t make entertaining click-bait.

  7. gemma

    This really tickled me :) well done.

  8. Cathy

    Spot on. Females in business and Men at home when oh when can we start to ignore the gender bias and simply be people.

  9. Midge

    I think this is long overdue, my partner and I share and embrace all aspects of our children’s lives (he even changes more nappies as our son stays still for him). Thank you.

  10. lynsey

    Loved this! My husband is a very proactive and hands on dad. I HATE when fellow mums try to put their husbands behaviour on mine as if It’s the norm not to change nappies or have an interest in your own child. Dad’s are awesome and need more credit. Just because they don’t get the same paternity leave as mums get maternity doesn’t mean they wouldn’t rather be at home cleaning up sick and singing silly songs.

  11. Jodie

    This is so true. It angers me and I’m not even a dad!

  12. sam

    This is so so true. However mums ARE stereotyped as much as dad’s. You don’t have to look very hard to see it. The real problem is that society judges and stereotypes ALL parents. No matter how great you are as a mum or dad, there are still hundreds of people ready to tell you that you’re failing.

    • Al Ferguson

      Yeah, there’s definitely cases on both sides of the coin. Thanks for your comment.

  13. Naomi

    It made me feel horrible being a woman myself, how can she write this utter crazyness?

    I meet some amazing dads every day through work, who look after their child, change nappys, make sure that everything is done and without complaints or feeling sorry for themselves or not feeling “manly” enough as this lady said. The time is gone that women and men have their “roles” and it has been changing for a while. Dads are as important as mums to be there for their family, spend time, enjoy it and do things together, so enough of these stupid comments. I think you are great and please carry on with nursery rhymes and interacting, this is how a baby learns, bonds and enjoys spending time with you!

    • Al Ferguson

      Don’t feel horrible. Not all mums are like it! ;)

  14. Alan Herbert

    My indignation at the original post was soon turned to hysterical laughter at your equivalent post.

    I would write a longer comment Al, but #BabyPink is getting cranky as Cbeebies is off air, her nappy needs changing and herself is asleep as she was up all night with the baby, whilst I pretended not to hear her.

    I’m too busy looking at half naked models dropped over Lamborghinis to change her myself.


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