I’ve been puzzled by men’s growing interest in paternity leave. Some say it’s a millennial thing, others claim it’s about equal rights for dads. Pshaw. Any mother will tell you it’s because these guys have no fucking clue what they’re getting into.

I suspect most men think paternity leave consists of playing video games and managing their fantasy sports leagues. While I find myself giggling with perverse glee at the prospect of these men caring for a newborn, for the sake of the children, I’ve designed a Paternity (Leave) Test that I believe every father should be required to pass before they take on the task.


Thank you for your interest in taking paternity leave. The following assessment will determine your level of preparedness for sleep deprivation, physical humiliation and miscellaneous fuckery. Good luck!

  1. Have you ever found someone else’s pee or poop on your person? (10 bonus points if you found both; 50 bonus points if you left the house before noticing.)
  1. Can you rattle off your pediatrician’s phone number? (Partial credit if the pediatrician’s number is in your cell phone. If not, what’s your plan, man? Call 911?)
  1. Have you ever cared for a child with explosive diarrhea and projectile vomiting? (No partial credit. Child must have had both at the same time.)
  1. Have you ever gone grocery shopping in your pajamas and felt no shame? (Partial credit for wearing pajamas that could pass for street clothes as long as you were wearing slippers.)
  1. Can you simultaneously change a baby’s diaper, feed it a bottle and go to the bathroom? (100 bonus points if you are able to wipe yourself, too.)
  1. Have you mastered using your teeth and toes in the care of your child? (Babies require advanced manual dexterity. See above.)
  1. Have you ever fantasized about secretly putting your child up for adoption on Craigslist? (Zero points if you said yes. Every parent has this fantasy.)
  1. Can you effectively suck snot out of your baby’s nose with a bulb syringe? (If you haven’t done this before, go try it out on the dog. The degree of cooperation is just about the same.)
  1. After answering the previous questions, do you feel you can handle paternity leave? (This was a trick question. If you said yes, AUTOMATIC FAIL. If you said no, 10,000 bonus points for actually having a fucking clue.)


<5 points:  Get your ass to work and stay there. No paternity leave for you.

6 to 8 points:  Not enough baby shit or psychological trauma. Better luck next time.

9+ pts:  Congrats! You passed! Now get ready for the worst 12 weeks of your life.


About the author: Catherine Long is a forty-something Army brat, wife to Paul (15 years OMG), working woman, and mother to two children. Besides being born with a vagina, her military childhood is the most defining aspect of her identity, informing her take-no-prisoners approach to life, love and family. You can find her at https://armybratparenting.com/.


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1 Comment

  1. Yet if more dads did take paternity or parental leave, they WOULD have a clue. We need them to have a clue.
    (Oh, and I think you forgot the quiz question about operating heavy machinery with zero sleep and no coffee … !)

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