Being a self-aware, thoughtful partner goes a long way when it comes to keeping your relationship healthy and functioning. This dad went viral on TikTok earlier this year for sharing his tips on how he helps reduce the mental load of solo parenting for his wife when he’s out of town for work—and it should be a must-watch for all non-default parents everywhere.
“Reducing mental load for your partner is not just about when you’re in the house, it’s also when you’re out of it,” dad and spouse Michael Vaughn says in his video. “I’m about to leave for a conference for six days, and that means my partner’s getting 100 percent of the child responsibilities and the household responsibilities. She says she doesn’t mind, but I know it’s a lot.”
He then lists the ways he’ll be sharing the childcare and household responsibilities even while he’s away from home.
“I vacuumed the house so she can start with clean floors. Washed and folded all the laundry so she can start with no clothes,” he explains. “That did not come out the way I intended. After I put our oldest to bed I’m gonna do the dishes so she can have clean dishes. Since I usually pack our toddler’s lunch I pre-packed parts of it so it’s just grab-and-go in the morning. And since she’s gonna have to wrangle both kids in the morning I put together 5 outfits for our toddler.”
And when it comes to outfits, Vaughn wants to make it clear that it’s not just about tossing any old outfit together (as a vast majority of moms already know).
“For partners who don’t usually put together outfits for their kids, it’s not that simple. It’s not just about what matches or looks nice together. I looked at the weather report to base out these outfits, Wednesday is a light shirt and pants because it’s gonna be warm and it’s not gonna rain so they’ll be out in the playground. Friday will be cold so heavier pants, long sleeve T-shirt, and a sweatshirt,” he says in the video.
Oh, and because six days of parenting solo is basically the equivalent of climbing Everest with a gaggle of small, needy animals attached to you at all times, Vaughn knows simply just…coming home and doing your share isn’t the relief many dads might think it is.
“I booked a hotel room for her so she can have some time to herself after I get back,” he says.
If this guy ever decides to teach spousal training classes, let’s just say his coffer wouldn’t ever be empty.
A version of this story was originally published on March 30, 2023. It has been updated.