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"Mommy." "Mama." "Mom!" Sound familiar? This mom kept count of just how many times her kids asked for her—and not Dad—on a given day and wow.

By Melissa Mills
April 01, 2021
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"I'm finally doing it," mom of three @leahova posted on TikTok of the experiment she was just starting. "I'm going to see how many times my kid says 'mom' and how many times my kid says 'dad.'"

If you're a parent, and especially if you're a mom, then you already know where this is going.

"So far we're at 23 moms and we're at zero dads," @leahova says in her TikTok. "And I'm literally hiding in the bathroom because she kept saying 'mom' while I was trying to record this. We were at 17 when I started."

An image of a mom and her daughter.
Credit: Getty Images. Art: Jillian Sellers.

Sounds about right. Of course it's great to be wanted and needed—and of course we all love our kids!—but boy, can it get exhausting being the go-to parent.

For most parents, the experiment's results come as no surprise: Moms typically take on the majority of child care responsibilities and do the heavy lifting around the house. During the pandemic, they're being driven to their breaking points. Of course that's not to say that dads and partners aren't also pitching in or that this is the case in every household, but many TikTokers could relate to the kids constantly calling for Mom's help and attention. Here's what they had to say:

  • "My clicker would BREAK."
  • “I’ve literally heard my child say ‘daddy, where’s mommy?’”
  • "I counted in the car ride home once (a 15 MINUTE RIDE) 94 times my toddler said mom. I can't imagine how many times in an entire day!"
  • “Did that once and gave up after an hour! Good luck mama!”
  • “I would say make this a drinking game but we would all die!”

Lucky for us, the TikTok mom posted an update shortly after: Mom was at 94, with dad making a comeback at 38. By the day's end, Mom wound up at 144 and Dad at 50.

Some TikTokers had some tips for Mom to help try to break the habit. "Start an intensive program that forces your spouse to be the default parent for a while," one commented. "It's much closer to 50-50 in my house now."

And a TikTok dad acknowledged that the same happened in his house, but that didn't stop him from trying: "As a father of 3, whenever my kids say 'Mom,' I respond, 'what can I help you with?' They basically never ask for me but I still get in there."

So, yes, Mom might carry most of the weight when it comes to parenting, but we can involve dads and partners in the conversation to help even the playing field. After all, we're all in this together—and mama needs a break!

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