One Dad's Viral Tips for Reducing Your Partner's Solo Parenting Stress

Going out of town and leaving your partner with all the childcare duties can be tough. But one dad's viral TikTok video offers simple tips to reduce the mental load.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Assistant Editor
Updated April 7, 2023

A recent viral TikTok video is making “default parents” feel seen and heard by their partners. The video features dad and spouse Michael Vaughn, who shares his tips on how to reduce the mental load of solo parenting when he’s out of town for work. In the video, Vaughn emphasizes that reducing the mental load for one’s partner isn’t just about when you’re in the house, it’s also about when you’re out of it.

Vaughn then goes on to list ways he’ll be sharing the childcare and household responsibilities even while he’s away. From getting chores down ahead of time to, preparing outfits and planning for “mom’s time off” after, he’s got it down pat.

“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. “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 prepacked 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.”

With each task, Vaughn shows up fully and thoughfully, committing to doing the best he can so things aren’t half or partially done for his partner but just how she’ll need them. For instance, when talking about picking outfits for his kids, he’s meticulous when it comes to details.

“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.

Vaughn knows that parenting solo for six days can be overwhelming, which is why he’s booked a hotel room for his partner so she can have some time to herself after he gets back. Vaughn emphasizes that while these things might not seem huge, and he’s “not trying to grandstand,” they are genuinely small things that make a big impact.

The internet seems to wholeheartedly agree. In the comments, there’s are a resounding sense of “Yes, this helps so much!” from parents. “I think that’s the key. Small things with big impact! The hotel is a huge bonus but even without that, it’s the forethought that matters,” wrote one parent. “What factory were you made in and how the hell can I upgrade my model!” joked another.

The viral video has garnered attention for highlighting the importance of sharing the mental load of parenting and supporting one’s partner in all aspects of parenting, not just when you’re physically present. Vaughn’s efforts show that small gestures can make a big difference and can help alleviate the mental load on one’s partner.

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