“Dad Help”

I’m about to post a slight rant for the day. Stella is in her first year of ballet, and the show is next week. It’s quite the production, including dancers from age 3-18, and this year’s show is Cinderella. I’m sure it will be wonderful, and we even purchased 8 tickets in the reserved seating section for Stella’s first ever performance… all 90 seconds of it. Ha!

We have already received a ton of emails regarding tech rehearsal Tuesday, dress rehearsal Thursday, and the shows on Friday & Saturday, but I just received the following email and it made my blood totally boil. I can use a damn drill better than a lot of men I’m sure. I want to reply to the email with a snarky comment about how it’s unfortunate that she just cut her volunteer pool in half for no good reason, but I’m also a first time ballet Mom and don’t want to get my kid in hot water with the teacher just because I’m pissed off at her stupidity. What would you do?


Subject: Dad Help

Hi All,
I need some “dad” help with our upcoming show!

1. This Sunday

We need 1 dad in [xxxxx] to help us put the house set piece together. I’ve recruited 1 man, but we need 1 more. Will probably take an hour. Knowledge of how to use a drill is required.

2. Thursday

starting at about 11, we need 1-2 men who know how to use drill to help us put the set together. Will take 1 – 1.5 hrs. This includes the coach, the house, and the flats.

1:00 We need 3 dads to help hang the backdrop with the pavilion staff. This will take about an hour.

I know most of you are working during the day on Thursday, but unfortunately it’s the only time we can get into the Pavilion before dress rehearsal. If you have any time, we would so appreciate it.

Thanks for considering!


  1. This is ridiculous! I would just volunteer if you are able, and let your (more than competent) assistance be the statement.

    1. I totally would, but I’ll be at work. 🙁 Just annoying as all get out to me for some reason.

  2. Shannon C. · · Reply

    I would love for you to reply, “I am not a ‘dad,’ but I am more than capable of using a drill and would love to help! There are probably several other females that would be qualified to assist with these tasks if you decide to open it up to “moms” also! 🙂

    1. Elizabeth D · · Reply

      This is exactly how I would respond! This type of thing/email doesn’t offend me but I definitely agree that they shouldn’t only ask for “Dads”.

  3. Um as one who used to be a teacher in such recital productions I would have never dreamed of just asking for penis help. Seriously. It’s 2017. Get with it.

  4. Extremely sexist, and you’re right: they’re cutting their pool of potential volunteers in half for no good reason.

    My husband is not-at-all-handy, and I have several friends whose husbands also fall into that category. Many of us are the handy ones in our households, and at a minimum we could operate a drill! Not exactly rocket science.

    I love Shannon C’s suggested reply above!

  5. The “dad” in quotes 🙄 I was going to say volunteer if you’re able but I see that you aren’t :(. I love Shannon’s response!

    I would write back and say that although you aren’t able to commit this time, you’re more than willing to help with this sort of thing in the future if your schedule allows. And maybe throw in that there may be some moms willing to help if they don’t get enough responses from dads. 😉

  6. mcmissis · · Reply

    😮 I cannot believe that! I would just write back and totally ignore the male mentions. Say, “I can’t make those times, but if no one else can either, I’d be happy to help after work.”

    Honestly, if the teacher is sexist enough to think only a man can do it, shouldn’t they also be assuming the men would be at work during those hours anyway?

    1. mcmissis · · Reply

      Just went back and reread it. She is assuming the dads should be at work then 🙄 I was so shocked by the first part, I didn’t even see the second hahaha

  7. well, they did initially put it in quotes….But seriously…wtf? As if a woman can’t be strong enough or talented enough…weird….Rant away, I would have 😀

  8. I’m going to play devil’s advocate and imagine after spending a lot of time seeing some amazing moms, she was brain-storming ways to get the male half of the equation more involved. That this email wasn’t sent with the idea that “these are man chores” but more as “how can I encourage the dads to be part of this recital?”

    Granted, I don’t know this woman and it’s completely possible that your interpretation is spot on. But what if this was an attempt (badly phrased one, but still) to welcome the fathers into this? I know I would be horrified if I got feedback that suggested I was being sexist, but more so from a new parent who didn’t know me and my motivations.

    Trust me, I rolled my eyes. But Grey and I have had discussions about him feeling excluded from certain activities for She-Beat and it’s a bit heartbreaking.

    1. Solid point, but like you said, her phrasing clearly needs work if that was the angle she was going for!

    2. kaseypowers · · Reply

      I was scrolling down to say basically this. I’d chalk it up to a badly phrased attempt to engage dad’s as the director is probably used to having 99% of the costume, hair, make-up, etc… help be mom’s. Because of our schedule Rob had to take Simon to his first ballet recital and he was the only backstage Dad. I wouldn’t get super upset about it, but do mention that while you can’t help out this time, you’d be more than happy to come help build sets for another show and maybe next time it will be a non gendered call for help.

      As a side-note, Simon’s kinder teacher said this is the first year she’s had more Dad’s than mom’s on field trips. It’s a combo of involved parents and the high number of families in his class where several mom’s work full time and Dad’s work from home.

    3. I bet you’re right! This makes sense to me.

  9. F*ck that! I am the handy person around our house. I’m the one who uses the drills and the wrenches and all the other tools. Every Christmas my FIL gives me a new tool; he never gives on to his son. I am the one who has installed all the gates, unclogged the sink, built all the furniture, hung all the pictures, hung my daughter’s swing from the ceiling (and a friend’s swing when her husband couldn’t do it), installed a new shower with a bar, plus many other things. My husband has done NONE of these things. So yeah, that email makes me mad. How annoying.

  10. “I can use a drill and would love to help! But sadly I don’t have a p*nis, so I guess I’m out. Hope you find someone!”

  11. Elizabeth D · · Reply

    I know at my daughter’s dance school they often ask for Mom/Female volunteers for backstage help during performance time. I think it has to do with the fact that the children feel more comfortable (and privacy reasons) with females since the majority of the dancers are females (but they do have many boys also) and have to change costumes. This may be the schools way of asking “Dads”/Males for help. I wouldn’t at all feel offended by this email but that’s me.

  12. This is tough. Some Barnes you need to leave alone. BUT dance is a predominantly female sport and to combat the super femininity of it, she should have been more PC. If I replied at all, I’d say, “I’d be willing to lend “dad help” because I’m better with a drill than my husband, but I’ll be busy. 😀”. She’ll get it.

  13. Battles, not Barnes

  14. I’d probably respond with, “Well, my husband doesn’t know how to use a drill and he’s busy finishing up the laundry, but I’d be happy to come help if you’ll allow moms to build sets.”

    But I’m kind of a bitch, so you may want to take that advice with a grain of salt. 🙂

  15. Geochick · · Reply

    UGH. I guess I’d write an email back (that my DH checks so it isn’t too bitchy) and gently suggest that the email just go out as “set help needed” in the future changing “men and dads” to “people”.

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