Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Mamas: Don't Boss Your Baby Daddies! Father's Day Advice
Father's Day. Oh you Menfolk.
And you tired Mamas.
What is the deal with the Daddies? They play with the kiddos here and there, MAYBE change a diaper if you are already tending to a neighbor's house fire or are indisposed in some serious emergency related matter. But otherwise, his most regular parenting exercise is handing you a child in need. Or handing you a child who interferes with his videogame/TV show/bathroom time/meal consumption/sleep schedule etc.
What is the deal with the Daddies?
And my husband? I am so blessed! He is a great dad to our girls because he NEVER hands them off to me with a weak excuse that I do it better.
Well maybe if a trip to the milky bar is the only visible solution. He surely doesn't do that. But he does bust out a bottle if my bust isn't available.
He does everything I do, play, dress, diaper, feed etc. Because we both know we are equally unskilled parents. Neither one of us has done this before. Neither one of us is getting any parenting awards. We are real people just keeping the kids alive, loved and sometimes happy!
John is so active and involved and I have so much respect for him because of it. Happy Father's Day John Novak! You are an excellent Father: Thank you for all the choices and efforts that make this so. You are a REAL MAN!
A real man knows how to father.
But the mamas HAVE to get out of the way for this to happen!
He won't do it your way and that does not make it the wrong way, so keep your mouth closed.
He won't do anything your way because he is not you. And NEWSFLASH: Your way is not the best way. It just isn't. You think it is because....it is YOUR way. Your way is simply 'a' way.
Respect your husband as a PARTNER.
Use your mama strength to enable and encourage his parenting, not to tell him how you do it. He should not do things you do; your kids need what he has to offer.
Your kids will live through time with their father.
Every time you are tempted to correct, guide or overbear remind yourself if you keep telling him how to do it, YOU will end up doing it. ALL. Because your man will believe you when you tell him you are the only person who does it right. And you will be able to do it "the right way" every time because he will step aside and let you.
I saw this happen-one of the blessings of having kids at 38: I got to learn from everyone else.
Here are five things I learned about raising a baby with the Baby Daddy:
1) Let him learn and discover his way. Even if you know better, let HIM learn it. He is also an adult with a driver's license who can vote. Respect him.
2) Your kid won't die if they wear something ugly/dirty/mismatched/otherwise inappropriate out of the house. You wanna emasculate a man? Change the kids clothes after their Father dresses them.
If it is ACTUALLY going to be a real life problem...a mama could spill something on it before you leave or skip a bib at mealtime. Not that I would ever do that. (HI Honey! You are AWESOME and I never did this.) Same goes for extended time without a diaper change (like not as often as you do it, but I am not excusing an all day diaper, folks!), interesting meal choices(cake has four food groups, right Bill Cosby?), or reasonable roughhousing.
3) A mama who wants an active daddy asks his opinion and encourages him to make his own parenting decisions. Do this from day one. When we brought our first baby home, John would often turn to me as in "What do we do?" Even if I had an idea, at times I would say, "I don't know...I have never done this before either!" I was rewarded with his take on things, often wiser and not as obvious as my approach. He continues to be more insightful with our kids than I am. (YAY! I'm glad someone else knows what to do when it gets tricky.) It might be difficult, but if you start right away you will learn together and grow as active parents together. CRUCIAL.
4) Do not talk badly about your husband's parenting efforts to anyone. Speak words of encouragement and build him up. Unless he did a SUPER boneheaded number and you have to dish with one mama pal who will keep her mouth shut. And unless you want him to blab all your mistakes. Especially if the only times your kids fall down or off of the couch is on your watch when you are thisclosetothem. Not that I am that mama. OK. Maybe I am. I only look away for a second and it is circus acts of daring do and that is why we have so many boxes of angry bird bandaids. Hidden safely so we cannot find them. SHEESH.
5) Let your husband fail. It will happen. The kid will get a sunburn/diaper rash/MIL fashion critique. Let it happen: Fails are how you learned to be such a great mama. Doesn't the man you love deserve the chance to learn how to be a great parent too?
(NOTE: If there is a serious endangerment problem, drug or alcohol problem, abuse situation, none of this applies. Please be actively involved and seek outside help too.)
If your parenting life is not what you would like it to be, have a talk with your husband. Apologize for being so bossy and depriving him of the freedom to be a great dad. Share this post with him, ask him what applies and agree to start over. NOW. Especially if you feel you do most of the parenting. He wouldn't mind doing more, you just need to start over.
Uh....What is that smell?
Hey.......now is probably a GREAT time to start with "a change".
Happy Father's Day Mamas! And Happy Father's Day to you Baby Daddies too!
I would love to hear of your tips Mamas & Daddys...and we all want to hear your disasters...so please share with us in the comments!
Mamas: Don't Boss Your Baby Daddies! Father's Day Advice