The Bumbling Dad: Male Bashing or Funny?

Bumbling Dad Stereotype Funny or Not? |

Chatting with SummersGroovyMom the other day, I said, “I want to write about how sweet my husband is with our daughter. Like when he sprawls on the floor with her, coloring and giggling. They’re just so friggin’ cute. ”

I show her the picture.  “Aww, that is cute,” she says, “but chile nobody wants to hear that.”

I burst out laughing.  She was right.  Ya’ll don’t want to hear about how awesome my husband is, how he’s the best thing since pants with pockets.  Those types of posts are saved for Father’s Day only.

Instead, let’s hear how he screws up. On the regular.

How he dresses our 2-year-old daughter like a Marine fresh from boot camp.

How he once texted me a picture of our kid gnawing a chicken wing…when she was only FIVE MONTHS OLD.

How, when I’m not there, he will keep her up hours past her bedtime, watching Apocalypse Now or some other atrociously violent film.

This is what we want to hear.  We love the “Bumbling Dad” stereotype. In fact, there’s an upcoming movie, Mom’s Night Out, that seems based entirely on the fact that dads will lose their own children.  And let’s not forget about that Mr. Mom movie in the ’80s.  Remember when he fought a vacuum and ironed a grilled cheese sandwich?


HI-LAR-I-OUS. I could probably crack a rib laughing at this movie now that I’m a mom.  But should I?

As an adult, should we reject these types of films for the stereotypical male bashing that they are?  Should we be frustrated with the “incompetent dad” stereotypes that we see over and over again? (check out the “Worst Male Bashing Ads“)

Chris over at the Daddy Doctrines blog thinks we should.  He is known for his platform against male bashing.  His latest post, “Mom Goggles: A Study in Every Stereotype Imaginable” laments that this coming Mother’s Day people will watch media images that show heroic moms saving the world and “bumbling dads barely keeping their kids alive.” 

Recently, he and his fellow “dadvocates” trolled the Baby Making Machine blog when Jennifer (the author) posted how her husband would ruin the house while she was out of town. They essentially accused her of reverse sexism and perpetuating the “idiot dad” stereotype.

I didn’t expect that sort of response because I rarely hear men complain about being dumbed down.  But I guess I understand it.

If I were really honest, I’d say that I’m not living with that stereotype. I mean, I’ve already told you how my husband’s not exactly waiting on me to cook  and clean, and how I bumble waaaaay more than he does.

As shown by own husband and the Black Dads Rock group on Facebook, we can see that awesome dads are thriving…but it’s just funnier to highlight their slip-ups.

So when your husband frantically calls you at work, yelling, “YOUR DAUGHTER HAS DESTROYED THE HOUSE!”  Then when you get home it’s just as much of his crap (socks, cups, candy wrappers) thrown on the floor as hers.  Should you laugh and post it on Facebook?

Or when he sleeps on the couch calling the cows home while your crawling child is halfway up the stairs with a huge smile on her face….yeah, do or don’t call your girlfriends about that one?

What do you guys think? Is male bashing rampant and just as harmful as the dumb blonde or melodramatic mom stereotypes?  How does your husband respond to the notion that he’s clueless with kids?  Should these angry dads just get a grip and realize that for 2,000 years their egos have been over-inflated and this little bit of teasing shouldn’t get their panties in a wad?


  1. Erinn S says:

    Dads are just big kids sometimes. My husband jokes so much with our youngest, he now thinks he’s a comedian at 5-pulling pranks on us daily

  2. Yona Williams says:

    I think it’s just as cool to show the ‘good’ with the ‘bad’ –I like seeing the sweet moments just as much as the funny-shake-your-head moments…there is nothing wrong with highlighting the humor in parenting which strikes Moms just as much as Dads.

  3. Ashley - Be Wonderfully You says:

    Awesome post! I think there is so much value here. I have been guilty of this myself. When our son was a newborn I so easily got back into the swing of diaper changing and burping but my hubby was having a hard time. I felt a need to constantly “fix” how he was doing things and it definitely hurt his confidence as a parent. The bumbling is a necessary learning process and not to be discouraged or made fun of. It is absolutely no different than anyone learning how to be confident at something new. Thanks for sharing <3

  4. natosha says:

    I really think its true some TV shows do make it seem as if Dads are not as a strong family person as Mothers are. I know they can be childish sometimes, but I think for most they do have the ability to stand tall and be a real parent, taking care of the kids and running earrings like a Woman. However, I do think they take the TV idea and exaggerate it to make them seem unable to be a parent but more like a child. Great post.

  5. itzybellababy says:

    I think it is rampant because in a lot of cases it is true.. not in my house. My man cooks, bakes, and I am happy to say I didn’t TOUCH a diaper the first week my daughter was born.. I didn’t have a clue how to do it..
    I am pretty lucky though… I brag a lot on FB. I am also careful not to demean my man publicly. and he does the same for me. It is just respect. We DO make fun of each other though- but never anything hurtful.

  6. Meredith Elizabeth says:

    Male bashing is inappropriate. If there’s something women don’t like about men, then they could focus on grooming their sons to be of high character. We can inspire greatness in our men, rather than beating them over the head with their faults. That being said- I’ve made the mistake of male bashing in my first marriage- it didn’t help at all.

    I pray that women will inspire greatness and tenderness in their men to where they do not feel the need to male bash. We are each others helpmates.

  7. Joanna Sormunen says:

    I agree, there is a stereotype that says that mom’s know everything and dad’s just can’t do it. It may seem fun and make mom’s feel irreplaceable. But in reality it just makes moms a stereotype also. And makes sure that dads have a perfect excuse NOT help at home.

  8. Vanessa says:

    I showed my husband a funny Dad joke once, he didn’t find it funny. I guess some men are sensitive to all this “bashing.” So I try to respect that.

  9. Jen says:

    I think we have to be able to laugh at ourselves (or family members :), even if they are stereotypes! There are too many pretending to be perfect!

    • MoxiesGroovyMom says:

      I agree! Nothing wrong with imperfection. Maybe that’s at the root of the “dadvocates”. They get praised for everything else and hate being imperfect in parenting.

  10. Bismah says:

    Wonderful post! I enjoy hearing about the sweet moments as well as the bad ones. None of us is perfect as parents and it is a continuous learning experience for all. I feel that moms and dads are experts in different departments when it comes to their child. For instance, one mom may be the expert at diaper changing but failing at being able to get down to her child’s level to play and have fun. This is where the dad may be the expert. In the end, as long as our children are healthy and happy then we know that we must be doing something right as parents.
    Oh and I loved the movie Mr. Mom, even though I feel that most dads are not like this.
    Thank you for sharing!

  11. Risa says:

    I am tired about people bashing on dads and thinking it is funny. Haven’t we moms screwed up too? I know I have sometimes!

  12. Felicia says:

    I think it’s a fine line now days. So many people get their panties in a was over jokes or what they feel is no PC. Picking on your husband for his backwards way with children is not bashing. To me bashing is saying husbands can never parent as well as a mom.

    There ‘s a big difference in pointing out the fact that your husband and daughter like to break all of mommy’s rules (true story) when she’s gone and saying that he’s horrible at parenting .

    Bot men and women are more than capable of being great parents but they are also both just as capable of doing something ‘stupid’ for the sake of fun or just because they are tired and worn out or overwhelmed.

    Here’s the way I see it, if we don’t share the ‘bad’ moments (in a nonbashing way) we aren’t being true to what our life really is.

  13. Alli says:

    My husband has always been a great dad. I could never handle a child that was throwing up because I would be right there joining them. My husband would clean it up and could change a diaper just as good (or better) than I could. I, personally, don’t like TV shows that make dads look like fumbling, bumbling idiots.

    Of course, the exception is Bill Crosby. Who doesn’t love him? One of my all time favorite shows!

  14. Madaline says:

    HAHAHA. This is all so true. My husband also dresses my daughter a little… interesting. We call it a dady outfit! But I def couldn’t imagine parenting alone!

  15. Brittany says:

    I completely agree. This has been happening for a while now. I’m all for women having more rights than we used to a century ago, but things have gone way too far. I have a great, capable husband, and I’m not afraid to let the world know. It’s so sad that men have been pigeon-holed into this role, and no one really knows how to fix it.

  16. Mandy, Barbie Bieber and Beyond says:

    My girls dad is probably more anal than me when it comes to everything running smoothly. He is an organiser and when I am not here he runs the house like clockwork, I’m the easy going one!! Thanks for linking up to Stumble Into the Weekend.

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