The Prompt: are women better parents than men?

The Prompt: are women better parents than men?

Are women better parents than men?


There is a very short answer to this question, which is of course, no. The more important issue, for me, is the presumption that lies behind the question.

At the very least it is outdated and misguided, at worst it is leading and damaging; how demoralising to have your ability to parent questioned in this way. I hear dads comment that they feel that society expects fathers to take a lesser, more silent, role in their children’s lives. I have witnessed a tendency to defer; to look to a mother for reassurance, acceptance, permission. As if mothers magically have all the answers; know their children better.

Being a good parent has little, if anything, to do with gender. Being a good parent has everything to do with love and time and commitment.

Speaking personally, I was never a baby person. My husband though, he’s a natural. And while I may have mellowed and learnt, over the years, to be more confident around children; my husband’s ability to entertain and engage groups of children has gone from strength to strength.

He is an amazing father; hands on, engaged, interested, invested and loving. He may forget doctors appointments and what time they start school in the morning; but he will always be willing to play, to listen to the latest story, to cuddle away a nightmare. He has far more patience than I will ever have. He is a wonderful parent.

Perhaps this question is symptomatic of a society that still makes it difficult for parents to share responsibility evenly? Where flexible working is still seen as the preserve of working mothers. Where surprise is still expressed on meeting a stay at home dad.

There are good parents and bad parents. There are those who are engaged and interested, and those who are distant and careless. These traits have nothing to do with being male or female; they are driven by personality and heart.

Parenting is not a competition. There is no mums versus dads race for the Parenting Cup.

We’re all in it together; and it isn’t about being the better parent, it’s about being the best parent we can be.


You can find this weeks #ThePrompt linky here. I do hope this topic inspired you; I look forward to reading your posts.

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46 thoughts on “The Prompt: are women better parents than men?”

  1. Fabulous response to #ThePrompt lovely. My hubby’s the same when it comes to playing – always gets stuck in and down to their level. You are so right, it’s not a competition xxx

  2. Potty Mouthed Mummy

    Here here Sara. I completely agree. I also find that the older generations are the ones that are reinforcing these outdated beliefs and it really isn’t helpful. In some families I know – for men to show love, affection is deemed as gay or girlie. It is just hogwash. Great prompt this week xx

  3. You’re so right. I don’t think it matters whether you’re a mum or a dad – what matters is whether you are a good parent, and doing everything you possibly can for your child or children. It’s pretty outdated to see mothers as the ‘traditional’ carer – these days some mothers go back to work while the dad stays at home because the mum is the higher wage earner and it makes better financial sense. We need to get in to the 21st century with parenting prejudice x #theprompt

  4. I love this response to this week’s prompt. The most important thing is trying to do the best we can as parents – whether we are mums or dads – and working as a team always helps too :-)

  5. A simple statement that is so true. In our house there is no better parent just different ways of parenting. As long as there is love, respect and parents working together then parenting will work.
    My husband often tells me I am the better parent but when I am putting our daughter to bed, making sure she is washing her face and cleaning her teeth he is downstairs tidying away her mess and cooking our dinner.
    Team work, thats what makes good parents.

  6. It’s true, society is unfair towards fathers. My husband is much more patient than I am, and definitely more fun to be with for kids!

    1. My husband is massively more patient than me! We all have different strengths, it doesn’t make us better, just different x

  7. So true. It’s whatever type of parent works best for that child as well. What might be a good parent for one child, might not be a good parent for another. Although obviously time, love and care applies for all parenting.

    My OH is an interesting parent. He’s definitely not as hands on as I expected – aside from giving and getting hugs, and taking N out on the farm, sharing a bath/shower with him (probably to save on the water bills!), that’s it for his parenting. Drives me insane as parenting should be more about a partnership – you don’t really know if in cases like him it’s a lack of confidence especially where the other parent turns out to find it easier than expected. I like you, am definitely not a baby person, but actually found things (apart from breast feeding that just didn’t work) really easy. It’s probably quite hard for my OH to then feel like he could do it as well.

    Interesting prompt

    1. The confidence thing is interesting isn’t it, and I worry that it’s sometimes down to being told that fathers aren’t as ‘good’ as mothers, which is such nonsense, but that kind of attitude from others must be quite damaging to those on the receiving end.

  8. Pingback: The Prompt: are women better parents than men? | Love All Blogs

  9. Great post. It’s most definitely time for society at large to grow up and realise that parenting is not a skill that women are the gatekeepers for – I may be the one who spends most time with Arthur in my partnership with my husband but there’s no way I could do what I do without him! x

  10. I think you’ve got it spot on hon, good parenting is nothing to do what gender you are. Like you, my hubs is much more of a baby person than I am, kids always adore him because he just engages with well. I am learning but I may never be as natural with kids as he is. Having said that, I think we.are pretty similar in terms of being ‘good’ parents and both have our strengths and weaknesses. Nothing related to out gender though! Great post :) xx #sharewithme

    1. Thanks Caroline. So many dads are such naturals with their kids and yet so many still assume that a mother will be the ‘natural’ parent, I find that very sad x

  11. Brilliantly written Sara and I totally agree. There is definitely a very even parenting divide in our house, and Mr M never expects me to pick up the slack in the evenings just because he works. Equally, the kids look to us both, one as much as the other. I love that it is that way – that Mummy and Daddy are viewed as equal in their eyes too! Xx #sharewithme

    1. That is such a good point Emma, how important it is for our kids to see us acting as equals when it comes to parenting x

  12. Great post Sara! I totally agree with everything you said! I think it’s sad that this is still a question that is liberally thrown around but I agree that a lot of it has to do with society’s lack of flexibility to share responsibilities evenly!!

  13. I agree. Being good parents is about team work and singing from the same song sheet. Where one falls short, the other steps up and your kids benefit from getting the best from both of you.

  14. I love this post… and it is such a well chose subject for #theprompt
    I feel that Jeremy Kyle has a massive part to play in the common misconception that mums are better parents than dads.
    I honestly feel that my daughter will have that much happier a childhood, and be that much a better person because she has *both* of us, equally!

  15. I love this. Brilliant #prompt post. I love your prompt writing. This is so true too its not a competition. You put that so perfectly. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

  16. Brilliant post. My husband and I were actually just talking about this over breakfast. Earlier we’d been reading a book with our 20-month-old, about how a baby polar bear first lost and then found his mummy again. It clearly resonated with my son, but we as parents found it immensely frustrating: why is it always the mummy that has to be found? Why never the daddy? Do daddies not merit the same emotional attachment and response? The image of the nurturing, comforting dad is missing in our society, and as my husband pointed out, this really affects his confidence in himself as anything other than a ‘fun’ and ‘good for games only’ kind of dad.

    1. Thank you so much. I think that your husbands feelings are sadly too common; we have a way to go before society catches up with the reality of many people’s parenting journeys.

  17. Couldn’t agree more! I think times are changing as are perceptions and not soon enough, we cannot have equality with these presumptions! Men are equal to women as much as we are to men! Brilliant post, thanks for linking up

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