Dads finally get some credit in the totally non-existent parenting wars
Everyone knows moms do the lion’s share of the work when it comes to newborns. There’s just something in biology that makes mothers irresistible to the tiny little creatures. The fact that they are conceived, created, and cared for inside their moms for a solid nine (it’s really ten) months has something to do with it. There’s a physical and biological connection that fathers just can’t compete with, at least not at first.
But once that kid pops out? We can compete in other ways. And guess what? We finally won one!
According to the venerable NPR, a study recently revealed that fathers actually get less sleep than mothers during the newborn phase! DADS FTW!
Put down your pitchforks, ladies. I have a newborn. He’s not yet three months old. And yes, I am effing exhausted (I was up for a solid three hours in the middle of the night last night. Sure, this time it was straight-up insomnia and not the kid’s fault, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to give the little parasite the satisfaction of knowing that!). My wife is exhausted too. There are no winners here, only losers. And, to be fair, the study is more nuanced than the “dads make parenting sacrifices too, jerks!” headline makes it seem.
Yes, according to the study, mothers get more sleep, unfortunately their sleep is frequently disturbed by the hungry little fleshblob they spawned. “Mothers appeared to play catch-up during daytime hours when fathers were unable to do so.” Which sounds great, if it were true.
First of all, I constantly nap at my desk at work. And second, while the opportunity for catching up on sleep seems like it’s there for moms – I mean, what do they even do all day, amirite?! – that’s not always the case. (This study has nothing to say about the growing shift in moms who go back to work and dads who stay home, but I digress.)
I know damn well that when, on those nights that I walk in from a long day at work, sink into my easy chair, and demand a beer, my wife dares suggests she’s tired? I go OFF on her.
“How the hell are you tired after a lazy day spent living the high life of morning naps and mid-day mimosas?! It’s just a baby, woman! They don’t require anything except constant and eternal vigilance, frequent feedings, nonstop laundry. It’s not like you can’t nap in between doing that minor crap and attempting to carve out a few hours for your own life!” (I am writing this from my neighbor’s couch.)
Ultimately, as gratifying as this study may be to dads looking for a leg-up on their wives, or to at least lower the amount of eye-rolling they experience, it doesn’t matter. This isn’t a competition. We’re all exhausted by parenting. None of us get enough sleep. Newborns, toddlers, preschoolers, tweens, teens, young adults, they’re all draining our life-force from us, one day at a time. Parenting is not a competition. We’re on the same team.
Our kids are the enemy.