Photo Of Dad Sleeping On Hospital Floor Sparks Important Conversation About Equal Parenting

by : Emily Brown on : 14 Apr 2021 12:33
Photo Of Dad Sleeping On Hospital Floor Sparks Important Conversation About Equal ParentingSara Duncan/Facebook

A viral image of a father sleeping on the floor of an emergency room has sparked important conversations about equal parenting and the give-and-take of relationships. 

Since posting the image on Facebook on March 23, Sara Duncan has racked up more than 18,000 likes and 2,400 comments. The photo of her husband, cement technician Joe Duncan, has also been shared across social media.


In the post, Sara explained that she and Joe had to take their youngest child to the emergency room after the mum noticed she was wheezing.


Joe had just finished a 12-hour shift and had to return to a morning shift a few hours later, so Sara tried to encourage him to stay at home and rest. The father, however, changed into clean work clothes and accompanied the family on the one-hour drive to the hospital.

In her Facebook post, Sara shared a picture of Joe sleeping with his head on the baby’s car seat and wrote that while ‘some may see… a Dad sleeping while Mom stays awake holding their sleeping baby in the ER at 2am’, she sees ‘a Dad sleeping on the hard floor of an ER after working 12 hour shifts 6 days a week for the last month, despite the fact his wife asked him to stay home and rest.’

Mum shares picture of dad asleep in hospital<a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fb&amp;set=a.327932553899538"></a>

The mum expressed her belief that ‘marriage and parenting isn’t 50/50’, writing, ‘Some days it is. Other days it’s 60/40, 70/30, or even 80/20. And you have to be willing to pull your weight, no matter what your partner needs that day.’

Speaking to Good Morning America about the post, she said she wanted to capture the moment as she was thinking about ‘how [she] wouldn’t want to do this life without him’.

The post received a number of comments about how lucky Sara and Joe were to have each other, though reproductive psychiatrist Dr. Alexandra Sacks told GMA that while equality between men and women has come a long way, the issue is far from resolved.


She commented, ‘In my patients I often see that mothers and their partners value shared parenting roles and responsibilities, but often in the day-to-day domestic tasks and the work of what we call “emotional labor” – the invisible labor of caretaking – still disproportionately falls on the women.’

Last October, a report from Forbes revealed the gender gap has widened during the coronavirus pandemic, with the change particularly severe among parents as ‘women are disproportionately responsible for raising their children and managing the household’.

Addressing how our perceptions of equality also vary, The New York Times found that nearly half of men believe they did most of the home schooling during lockdowns, while just 3% of women agree.


In an effort to help address inequality, Sacks stressed the importance of talking about equality both in the workplace and ‘on the domestic front’, and discussing expectations of roles, responsibilities and division of labour in relationships.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Most Read StoriesMost Read


Legal Experts Weigh In On Whether Alec Baldwin Could Face Jail Time

Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Life, Equality, gender, Now, Parenting, parents, Relationships, Social Media


Good Morning America and 2 others
  1. Good Morning America

    Photo of dad sleeping on hospital floor leads to reflection on equal parenting

  2. Forbes

    The Parenthood Gap: Gender, Parenting And Fear During The Pandemic

  3. The New York Times

    Nearly Half of Men Say They Do Most of the Home Schooling. 3 Percent of Women Agree.