Working Mom Shares How She Became The 'Dad' In Her Relationship & Stopped Her Husband From Getting Away With Doing Less Work

This mom offers child-rearing advice to other moms, stating, 'Be the Dad.'

Ema on TikTok TikTok

A working mom made a TikTok post targeted at soon-to-be-moms “who don’t want to recreate their parents' marriage.”

Ema explained that before having her baby, she didn’t think she wanted to have kids, and she offers up solid reasoning for why that was.

“The reason that I didn’t want to have kids is not because I didn’t like kids and it’s not because I didn’t want to be a mother,” she stated. “The reason I didn’t want to have kids is because I never saw an arrangement where the woman wasn’t doing most of the work.”


Ema didn't want to be the default parent and took actionable steps to ensure she was not the one juggling everything at once.

“I never saw a single relationship in my entire life where the woman wasn’t the default parent,” Ema said.  “However, I have a baby now, and I’m not the default parent. I’m a dad. Like, straight up, I’m the dad.”

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The working mom said that she’s “not the automatic point person” for her kid, and explains the steps she took to make that dynamic occur. While most moms face pressure to be the default parent due to societal gender norms and expectations, by Ema's standards, it doesn't automatically have to unfold that way.


Ema offered up the following advice for moms-to-be by giving context for her own co-parenting relationship. She said, “First of all, I made sure that my husband was the stay-at-home parent for the first few months. I would strongly encourage anyone who has that financial ability to consider a similar setup.”

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In the comments to her post, Ema said that she and her husband made a conscious decision to exchange parenting roles, explaining that “we talked about him wanting to be a stay-at-home-dad when we first started dating.”

Ema’s dynamic differs from what she sees with her mom friends. “They have a baby, they take on the bulk of the childcare while their husband is working which makes sense, and everyone’s more or less okay with that. Only something weird happens when they go back to work. She’s still the primary parent. She’s still the one juggling everything. She’s still the one the baby gets passed to when he’s crying,” she says of her friends' setups.


From Ema's perspective, "Society swings so hard to moms doing the lion’s share. You have to really intentionally rest and dismantle that dynamic from the very beginning."

“It is so much easier to start from a place where it’s imbalanced in favor of your husband doing more of the work than to start with you doing the lion’s share and expecting him to pick up more and more responsibility over time,” Ema declared. 

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Ema’s recommendation to moms is to “start from a place of inequality in your favor. And don’t worry about it, because as a woman, society is constantly going to be trying to tip the scales towards you doing everything. You’re going to have to consciously fight that at every turn.” 


She details what the opposite scenario looks like, “if you start from a place where you do most of the childcare, and then you just expect your husband to start taking on more and more of that responsibility, you’re going to have a dynamic like 99% of the women that I know. When you’re in the shower, and your husband is sitting on the couch on his phone, your toddler is going to be banging on the door for you to open the fruit snack.”

While being the default parent usually falls to mothers, Ema’s post proves that it doesn’t always have to. While it’s valuable to acknowledge that the division of labor in parenting might never be entirely equal, it can be equitable. One way to ensure that the parenting load is shared between partners is by “being intentional about communicating with your spouse.”

Ema gives a call to action to new moms, by telling them to take less action when it comes to parenting.


“I am giving you permission to be so extremely selfish in those early days,” she said. “Breastfeed, and then hand the baby right back. Don’t change a diaper. Don’t try to soothe the baby when he’s crying. Pass to your husband.”

“Pretend like you’re the dad for once,” Ema proclaims. “Because society’s going to knock you right back into place as soon as it can but at least you’re going to have a fighting chance.” 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. As a former postpartum doula, she covers parenting issues, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.