Fatherhood. I talked about “namaste” last week, and how to bring that peace into your home. Mamas, you know what’s hard? Trying to keep that peace and calm AND take care of everything and everyone in your household. Time and time again I hear from frazzled mamas who are sleep-deprived and up to their ears in household/kid management while disconnected Daddy brings home the paycheck and occasionally “babysits” the kids.
Yes, there are some fathers out there who see parenting as more of a woman’s role. But this post isn’t about a chauvinistic gender bashing, but a “check yourself” for you mamas. You see, sometimes, Mama, it’s not that your man doesn’t want to be involved in child-rearing, it’s that you don’t let him. Yes, you don’t let him because, let’s face it – you know best. You carried this babe for ten months in your body (40 weeks people, do the math. Nine months is a lie!) You went through the indescribable birthing process that he only could watch, if you breastfeed exclusively, you alone are the food source, you are the first comfort your baby knows, the first scent they smell, the sound they know best, etc., etc. How could anyone else ever love and connect to your baby like YOU do?
Well…how could anyone else connect if they never get the chance? You see, it’s not that there are just a ton of bad fathers out there, it’s that many haven’t had any opportunity to really step it up.
You have to dive in and live it in order to rise to the occasion.
To be an awesome father, he has to be in it. He needs the opportunity to connect. And this next point is critical – don’t look for an exact replica of your mothering. When we as mamas micromanage and tell the father all about how to handle the children, we rob them of having their own unique relationship with them. No one is leaning over our shoulder telling us how to do the diaper, lay out naps, and what baby’s favorite everything is. We learn by living with them!
It’s so huge – when I saw my husband Nathan truly shine in fatherhood was when I got out of his way. Nathan stepped up to the plate immediately out of necessity. My first childbirth was pretty intense, and after three days of natural labor and 2 1/2 hours of pushing, it resulted in an emergency cesarean. On top of the major abdominal surgery, I also had all the exhaustion, swelling and trauma of an almost vaginal delivery, so with my “sampler platter” delivery, I was pretty wiped out and had a slower recovery. It was a full two weeks before I even changed my daughter’s diapers!
Nathan doesn’t babysit. He parents. He doesn’t cuddle them the way I do, or play with them in my way, or even fix their food/do their hair like I do. He has created his own relationship with them. They have their own routines in the mornings when I’m gone to yoga. They have special games they play only with Daddy. They go on daddy/daughter dates, and they have talkie time with him alone. Nathan is an active part of our family, and that means he is just as critical in the girls’ lives as I am. Here is a little taste of his awesomeness with his girls:
If you are frustrated with your husband’s support with kids, be sure to first see if you’ve given him an opportunity to step up to the plate. Dads will always remain second fiddle if moms don’t move out of the way and allow them to lead in their own way – not to replace mama, but to identify what “daddy” will look like.
What does “Daddy” look like in your house?