Working dad explains why he still gets up in the middle of the night with his newborn

Any parent knows that the first few months with a newborn can be brutal. But if only one partner is willing to get up in the middle of the night, it can make things exponentially worse. There’s just no reason for the burden of sleepless nights to fall on one person when parenting should be a partnership — even if one parent works and the other is on leave. A working dad explained why in a viral TikTok video and it’s about time someone said it.

Neil, a newborn dad who goes by @professorneil on TikTok, stitched a video from Paige Turner, a famous advocate for equal distribution of labor in homes, where a commenter was criticizing her for suggesting that working dads should still get up for middle-of-the-night feedings to help take some of the pressure off their partners.

“I always suggested that new dads could participate in the overnight feedings with their new babies and Jen here thinks that’s crazy and selfish,” she said, referring to the commenter.

That’s when Neil chimed in.

“So it’s currently 2 a.m. and I’m awake with this little one,” he said, recording himself from a dark nursery. “And I’ll be on call for another two hours or so. We switch at 4 a.m. — my wife and I.”

He continued, “I’m still working full-time at my job. She’s on parental leave which means I work full-time and she also works full-time. So, I might have to work a full day on four hours of really awful sleep, but I mean, what’s the alternative? That she has to work a full day on none? Parenting’s work. Parenting’s labor. Stay-at-home parents work. I have no idea why we are still having this argument. Yeah, I can’t figure it out there.”

And yeah. That is pretty much the end of the argument. Like, in the year 2024, why are we acting like parental leave is a vacation? Taking time off work to raise a newborn child is not a break — it’s probably harder than your day job. So why should the parent who is doing the majority of the childcare also get less sleep by default? It just makes no sense.

In the comments, people praised Neil for his refreshing honesty.

“Personally, it’s easier to go to work with little to no sleep. But to watch a baby, with no sleep is literally insane,” one commenter wrote.

Another agreed, writing, “I never understood the work argument. I still have to stay awake all day to taking care of the baby and other kids. I need sleep lol.”

One weighed in, “Everything you said, and also the way to bond with a baby is by caring for it. That bond is worth some lost sleep.”

And one wrote, “Oh I’m 44 and when I had my babies I fell for this lie that it was fair to let hub sleep. when I returned to FT work nothing changed. I was the one that got up in the night 😭 we’re [divorced] I burned out.”

It’s also worth noting that getting up with a newborn is the bare minimum. Dads and other working partners should be doing much more — both for their partners and for their kids.

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