Dad Can Do It

Yup.Time for some talk, ladies. More specifically, moms. I am seeing a good bit of dad doubting recently. I’m sure it isn’t more than usual but just circumstances are bringing it out of the woodwork.

Leaving my kids for 4 days for my own agenda kinda set that in motion. Yup. I am happily boarded a plane at 5:30am to fly across the country for ME. I worried about connecting flights. I worried about forgetting my passport (oh I went out of the country even). I worried how I could get ever waking second out of my trip without being wrecked by jet lag (still struggling, mind you). But I never worried about my kids with their dad. Not one damn second. Yes, I am lucky to have a partner who doesn’t falter at the thought of solo parenting but I also think my attitude about it from day 1 has helped.

Step 1: Let Him Do It His Way

Kevin is an amazing dad. There is no question about it. But ya know part of that knowledge came from me letting him. From the minute Landon was born, I let him do it his way. He changed diapers different. He soothed differently. He was/is quicker to react to things than me. It is what it is. That is the man I married and he is doing an awesome job.

I hear moms doubting dad from day 1 sometimes. I get that it takes some time to get in that groove but when the kid is 3 and you can’t bear the thought of leaving him home while you go to the grocery store alone? It’s a problem. This then usally builds animosity towards dad. “I never get a break” is the mommy martyr cry but when you start suggesting time alone, you are met with “well I just can’t do that. He doesn’t know how”. Just like the kid, how is he supposed to know if you don’t let him?

Step 2: Embrace the Difference

Brudders_with_snacks.Now I noted above about how dads do things differently so let’s establish a ground rule: NO COMPARING YOUR EXPERIENCES.

Just because the kids like when daddy does donuts in the grocery store parking lot doesn’t mean you need to do the same things. Create your own bonding. Just because Johnny likes the way Daddy reads green eggs and ham doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. Put on your big girl panties and enjoy the fact that your kid is having these memories with their dad.

I will pepper this with don’t let one parent just be the “fun” one while the other disciplines. Ya gotta be on that same page.

Step 3: Stop Thinking Dadding is a Burden

I will admit I have a hard time with this one sometimes. I think it is built in mom guilt. I will find myself WAY overthinking going to do something and leaving Kevin with the kids. Like I need to make up for it. Then I slap myself and say “NOPE”. My classic paraphrased quote is marriage is not 50/50 and not tit for tat. It’s being able to pull 80% when they can only pull 20% and trusting that can do that same for you. I have to rely on Step 2 to help me through this one sometimes. I think of all the cool things they can do without me. Sometimes that’s Home Depot errands where they come home with LEDs and watch batteries to make night lights or buying hungry hungry hippos on a whim when I am gone for 4 days. Even Kevin has to tell me sometimes “it’s fine! Go!” and I come home to dance parties and Ollie cleaning the floor. SCORE.

Once again, he is their DAD not the BABYSITTER. You need alone time just as much as him. Talk about this and make it work or you will make yourself crazy. A healthy relationship is being able to voice when you need a break and the other party stepping up for it. Don’t just bottle up the frustration. TALK, DAMMIT!

 

Class dismissed.

9 Comments

  1. Speaking to just the last paragraph – I wish I could leave my kids with my husband more often – he’s awesome. He’s probably better than I am at this sometimes. I would love to have breaks more often but my husband is in the middle of switching careers, from IT to law enforcement and is gone a LOT since he’s doing both, sometimes both in one day. I’m talking 7am to 11pm. It’s more like 90%-10% around here most days, and if he sees the kids for 10 minutes in one day that’s a stellar day. I’m a “single parent with a husband” most days and it totally blows. You guys are very lucky to have the balance you do.
    But when he is around you better believe he steps up! 😉 I have a summer cold sidelining the shit out of me right now and he’s been spectacular.

    • Well you just explained it, you are in transition. It isn’t an ideal world all the time. Sometimes the balance has to shift for the family. While Kevin was working on the new job at first, I did a lot of solo daycare pick ups and the like. Is what it is…but he was also vocal in thanking me for it and working with me when i need those times too.

      • Yes! We, and all couples, totally have to be able to rely on each other and carry the other when it’s needed. I’m doing it most of the time for him right now, but he’d be doing it in a heartbeat if it were me.

        It has to start waaaay before having kids. Maybe even before marriage.

        Pick the right one, ladies!

  2. I think “Let Him Do it His Way” is huge. HUGE I tell you. It’s something I struggle with sometimes although it’s less “I’m the mom and know better” and more just general cockiness. lol! I have a couple of friends that complain that their husbands don’t do enough to help out with the kids. Then in almost the same breath they complain about having to correct how their husbands are parenting. Uh, if you are being nagged about doing it “wrong” all the time, you aren’t going to be motivated to keep doing it. Nuff said.

  3. This goes for special needs parents too, maybe even especially for special needs parents. I turned into a hyper helicopter crazy person and it got to the point my husband didn’t even know the medication or feeding schedule. About 18 months ago I had a near breakdown (long story) because of the exhaustion of being “on” all the time. Husband and I had many long talks about what I and our family needed to keep going and keep our son alive and healthy. The real problem was that I wasn’t allowing him or anyone else to help me enough. He really stepped up. Life is much easier now. Well, relatively – I have help with keeping up with tube feedings and doctor appointments. You really have to let them do the work too, not just for your sake, but for his and the child’s.

  4. I don’t think twice about my kids being home with my husband instead of me. I think the whole “let him do it his way” thing is probably a lot easier for us working moms since one, the dad is with the kids as much or nearly as much as we are and two, we’re already used to other caregivers besides ourselves doing it their own way.

    But yes! Amen! Dads can do whatever moms can! And me time is vital for all of us as parents.

  5. I can’t stand the term “babysitting” when applied to any parent . . . gah.

    I’ll freely admit that, at the very beginning, I was scared of a lot. I saw activities as chores, and I abhor chores. I don’t know when it was – but I like to think that it was mostly early on, but who really knows, that I started seeing those things that I called “chores” as “time with the kids.” And, when push comes to shove, even when my kids are shoving, they’re pretty spectacular, and, goshdarnit, I enjoy spending time with them. So I started to welcome bath time, and the early morning rises — heck, I’ll still try to sneak downstairs with one or both of them to watch a movie on a weekend day.

    And while I know that I do things incredibly differently than Duffy, it’s the end-result that matters. My kids know they’re loved by both of their parents, so all’s good 🙂

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