I love being a mommy. I really do. And I believe that spending time with my children is a most precious gift.
Yet it took me some time to realize that I was what I now call a parenting addict. Here is my explanation of the concept:
"A parent who does not relinquish any of the parenting duties to her or his partner."
There, I said it. When our oldest son was born almost eight years ago, it seemed only natural that both my husband and I will share all the duties and joys of parenting. Shared the joys we have, but not so much the duties. Come diaper changing time, I somehow came to believe that I was the only able-body in the house capable to perform such an exquisite task.
Burping? Same. Bathing? Ditto. Carrying the baby in a sling? OK, you got the idea. For a while I simply thought I could do everything better.
I am no longer riding that insanity wave. I came a long way since the days of exclusive parenting and I learned a lot about dads in the process. Here it is:
Dads may not be very handy when it comes to newborns – maybe some are, but those will only be mentioned here for congratulatory reasons – yet practice makes perfect. Dads are equally in love with their little bundles of joy and they enjoy taking care of babies just as much as we moms do.
Dads are trying their best even when it seems that they could do a lot better – just don’t say anything. Their best might not coincide with yours, but encouraging them instead of raising a brow will pay off. Confidence makes dads want to help more with the little ones. Dads who feel appreciated will grow into their caregiver role.And it has to be said, confident dads are happy dads.
Dads like to help around the house – as long as they reminded to do so and are given clear instructions. Some will know when and how without being told and yes, it is impressive, but frankly, I will not hold my breath on this one and neither should you. After all, help is help and it should be appreciated.
And here is the bit that makes it really interesting. It’s about precious “mommy time”. If you don’t have any because you do everything around the house, this is the time to let you in a little secret. Exclusive parenting is a lonesome and somewhat alienating situation. You don’t get to rest properly or recharge your batteries and in the end the whole family suffers.
But here is the good news: Dads are willing to help you have a bit of mommy time if they know more of what you’re going through. Sharing parenting responsibilities is the best way to start. Mommy time makes for a happy mommy and wife. Dads know that and they love it. It takes two to tango. And parenting really is one special tango dance. Give it a try, and don’t try to lead the whole time. You’ll still have fun.