Single Mom Hears Daycare Worker Tell Her Son To Hurry Up Because 'Mommy Needs To Get Home To Make Dinner For Daddy'

We should be teaching our children to ditch these outdated gender norms.

Last updated on May 12, 2024

mom holding impressionable child Anton Mukhin / Shutterstock

Gender norms and traditional societal expectations are irritating to anyone, but especially when they are imposed on single mothers.

Women often face the presumption that they should be the ones cooking and cleaning, and single moms who do it all feel like their role is minimized by people who limit them to just that. Because a person's identity should not be based solely on their "roles" dictated by outdated norms.


That's exactly what one single mom faced from a worker at her son's daycare.

A daycare worker told the woman's son that 'mommy needs to go home to make dinner for daddy.'

In a since-deleted video, Michelle Carlson claimed that when she went to pick up her son from daycare, a worker told her son to hurry while putting on his shoes. Then, according to Carlson, the worker said, "Your mommy needs to get home to make dinner for daddy."

As a single mom, Carlson was appalled and said she was unsure of what to do or what to say. She simply told the worker, "There is no daddy."

@yourtango One daycare worker’s comment has us thinking about gender stereotypes.#momsoftiktok #genderstereotypes #stereotypes #daycare #momsoftoddlers#greenscreen ♬ original sound - YourTango

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Explaining the frustration of the situation, Carlson added, "Not only did she assume that there was a daddy. Nothing about me says there has to be a daddy — but that I would be the one responsible for making that meal."

She stated that even if she was in a relationship, she would hope her partner would be the one making dinner if she was picking up their child. After all, it takes a village to raise a child, and childcare duties should be split among parents.

Carlson further added that she did not appreciate the "old values" that were being taught to her son by the daycare worker, mentioning that the worker was most likely a retired teacher who had returned to the daycare, and was therefore an older employee with outdated views.

Many people weighed in on Carlson's video, with some agreeing that the daycare worker's comment was inappropriate and unnecessary, but with others saying that Carlson should let the situation go.


"What a weird thing for her to say," one person said, while another defended the employee by adding, "Just let it be. I am sure she meant nothing by it. She was just trying to help get him going." 

Another user defended the worker, saying, "Being irritated is fine and understandable. However, you addressed the comment and it was a simple assumption from someone in a different generation."

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Gender roles are harmful, and educators shape children's perceptions of these roles.

Carlson's incident highlights the gendered expectations that still exist in our society today, where women are assumed to be responsible for domestic chores and other responsibilities. But not only are these expectations harmful, they can make women feel like the roles in their professional and personal lives are limited.

A 2017 study in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that, across the world, kids growing into adolescence are faced with a common set of rigidly enforced gender expectations, which are associated with increased life-long risks of mental and physical health problems.

The pressure children face to conform to these roles — and the isolation experienced if they don't — creates a range of negative impacts depending on a child's assigned gender, the study said.

For girls, those risks can include child marriage, pregnancy, leaving school early, STIs, and exposure to violence. Boys, on the other hand, suffer from an increased risk of substance abuse, suicide, and shorter life expectancy than women, especially if they try to challenge masculine norms.


In Carlson's case, the daycare worker's comment raises questions about the impact early childhood education can have on children's perception of gender roles. Because children are highly impressionable, it's easy for them to internalize gender stereotypes they are exposed to at a young age, making it crucial for educators to break this construct.

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Maddie Haley is a contributor to YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers pop culture, celebrity news, and lifestyle stories.