I saw a tiktok recently that was a mom talking to camera. She said something like, “I’m going to do the laundry, cook the meals, homeschool the kids and clean the house.” And then she pretended to be her husband, “Cool. I’m going to spend the day cutting down a weird branch behind the house that nobody can see.” That’s totally Mike and I am titling this “Yardwork Dad.” Yardwork Dad wants to escape the house (a need that feels particularly intense during quarantine times) and uses the removal of supposedly disruptive tree branches as an excuse to get some alone time.
During quarantine, Mike is suddenly obsessed with gardening, pruning back trees and trying to finish the landscaping project we started and abandoned last winter. Over the last four months, he has spent more time in our yard than inside the house. Every day, he will come up to me and say, “Be right back, I need to go to the hardware store.” “Or: “Just need to head out to the nursery for a quick sec.”
I told my friend this and she was like, “Oh my god. My husband is always finding excuses to go to the hardware store too! He’s currently in the driveway with a pile of wood and a handsaw.” Her husband is “Home Improvement Dad.” Maybe it’s because our husbands are usually city people in apartments that all these power tools and yard work strikes us as comical.
After talking to a lot of my mom friends, it seems like their husbands are also having a hard time sitting still in quarantine. They are not working as much or currently out of a job and want to make the most of their time. Whether that means being the stay-at-home dad of your dreams or catching up on decades of sleep, here are ten kinds of dads in quarantine:
Home Improvement Dad
Home Improvement Dad has been waiting for a pandemic his entire life. He has a list of projects from a decade ago, but never had the time to do them. He’s not about to squander this opportunity! Does he know how to build garage shelving from scratch? Or rewire the sound system to play outside? Not really. But he can learn on the fly! Power tools are also a handy excuse to keep little children at arms length. You will have a new deck by fall.
Homeschool Enthusiast Dad
You didn’t see this coming, but it turns out that you married a homeschool enthusiast. Who would have thought?! The Homeschool Enthusiast Dad not only laminated those color-coded daily schedules that were all the rage a million years ago (aka in March), but he actually followed the daily schedule well past the time that lesser dads chucked those useless itineraries in the recycling bin. Homeschool Enthusiast Dad has facilitated Zoom meetings for all his children simultaneously, made sure all assignments were completed and submitted, and developed his own PE curriculum. Nobody is sure where this enthusiasm for learning came from, but now that it’s been unleashed, there’s no turning back.
Amateur Epidemiologist Dad
He’s read all the studies. He knows which states are spiking and where the most recent cluster outbreak originated. He has charts! And he wants to discuss them with you. Every night. He’s not *technically* Dr. Fauci’s assistant, but basically he is, even though Fauci doesn’t know it yet. Amateur Epidemiologist Dad has detailed thoughts on when your kids can resume regular activities, such as attending day camp and breathing near people. But unlike the irrational mob on your local Facebook page, Amateur Epidemiologist Dad can back his plans for your children with data points.
Bluetooth Headset Dad
Bluetooth Headset Dad is always on a work call. At least it looks like he is. He may just be listening to a podcast. It’s impossible to tell, because he walks around the kitchen with a headset glued to his ears and often points a single finger in the air as if to say “Silence, please. This is important.” Or maybe he just wants to hear his podcast better? It’s really unclear. You’d really prefer for Bluetooth Headset Dad to stay parked in his home office (aka the guest room), but he’s gotta come out to pick at everybody else’s snacks.
Big Kid Dad
Big Kid Dad is discovering that anything goes in a pandemic, and he likes it. Want to run in the sprinkler during a school day? Have at it. That’s not weird, that’s bonding with your kids. Want ice cream for dinner? Why not! It’s a pandemic, after all! How about turning the garage into a nightclub that serves unlimited Shirley Temples? Let’s do it! Big Kid Dad is having the time of his life, now that social norms have been cast aside. I mean, who doesn’t want to hold work meetings from a tent in the living room? Once the pandemic is over, it’s going to be really hard to put Big Kid Dad back in the box.
Yardwork Dad is finding ways to be “productive” without actually doing any additional chores or childcare. He has decided to trim the hedges in the WAY BACK of your yard, even though nobody has actually seen those hedges in years. Sure there is laundry to do and small children to entertain, but Yardwork Dad has decided that his talents would be better used elsewhere. Namely the quiet nooks in the far corners of your property.
Zoom Happy Hour Dad
Zoom Happy Hour Dad would normally be out at the bar with his buddies on a Friday night. But the fact that the bars are closed has not deterred Zoom Happy Hour Dad. Not one bit! Every Friday after work ends, Zoom Happy Hour Dad declares he needs to unwind. The countless Zoom meetings he has already been on for work throughout the day have not dampened his spirits. He will be back online with an IPA and seven of his college buddies (who look like the cast of the Brady Bunch in their little squares on his computer screen), comparing quarantine mustaches and Negroni recipes. By 9PM, Zoom Happy Hour Dad will be asleep on his keyboard while his friends do shots from their living rooms.
Sourdough Starter Dad
Sourdough Starter Dad is an optimist at heart. He has hobbies. He has passions. He has always wanted to learn a second language or how to play the guitar. But that sounds super hard, so he is focusing his efforts on baking bread from scratch. If Stephen Colbert and Jake Gyllanhaal can do it, than he can do it too! Once quarantine is over, he has big plans to wow everyone with loaves of perfectly baked sourdough at the next socially sanctioned gathering. So what’s taking him so long to get started? “The starter is fermenting,” he tells you. “It’s a process. You have to feed it like a pet.” That was four weeks ago. Still no evidence of bread.
Napping Dad (who is very closely associated with Gamer Dad) assumes that since the world has come to a screeching halt, it’s perfectly acceptable for him to take a load off and get some much needed R&R. But how will the laundry get done, the dishwasher emptied and the children fed? None of these things concern Napping Dad, as he has already outsourced those tasks to his partner for years. Why should now be any different? He also has no problem, taking a load off right in the middle of the action— aka on the couch in front of the TV in the den. Napping Dad is also oblivious to the toddler crawling around on the floor by his feet, watching TV shows that Common Sense Media says are appropriate for ages 16+. If you are looking for Napping Dad, you can usually find him a few feet away from Eye-rolling Mom.
Domestic Dad could always cook and clean, but since he’s been in quarantine, he’s taken it to a whole other level. Domestic Dad has a system, a schedule, a meal plan, and a chore chart. He’s realized that domestic duties is an area where his Type A personality really shines and he can let his Control Freak Flag fly. He’s not just cooking and cleaning, he’s running a cooking and cleaning camp where he teaches these domestic tasks to your children too. Maybe there is even a whistle involved. When you ask your kids why the pantry has suddenly been rearranged, they tell you to speak to their manager. (For the record, in addition to being a Yardwork Dad, Mike is also a Domestic Dad. I’ll never forget the first month of quarantine— the kids barged in on me while I was on a conference call, complaining that they didn’t want to take Daddy’s Chicken Cutlet Class.)
Theme Night Dad
Theme Night Dad has really embraced quarantine, because now he has a captive audience for family game nights, talent shows and potluck cook-offs. Theme Night Dad’s hero is Phil Dunphy. Sure his kids complain and call him a dork. But with a non-existent social calendar, even they agree that it’s kind of fun to get dressed up in fancy clothes for the Winter Wonderland Ball that Theme Night Dad is hosting in the family room. Theme Night Dad is simultaneously driving his family crazy and keeping their spirits up. What? Tonight is Halloween? Tomorrow is Christmas? When all is said and done, Theme Night Dad will be credited with making happy family memories during a really tough time.
What kind of dad is your partner?