Friday, June 19, 2015

Here's to the Dads

I don't know about you, but I cringe when someone insinuates that I have four children, husband included {har, har}.

It's not that I don't understand the joke that grown men may sometimes act like children, I just don't think it's particularly funny. It seems odd to imply that fathers are needy and less involved. My kids and I are very proud {and very lucky} to be able to say our experience is the exact opposite.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing this wrong; that my motherhood doesn't look right. Supposed gender roles are swapped all over our home. I can't cook much more than frozen waffles, but I sure spent half an hour shoveling chicken manure last night. I keep my house as clean as possible, but I haven't gone grocery shopping in months. I change diapers, he changes diapers. I give baths, he gives baths. I hide in the bathroom and count to ten, and I can only assume my husband does the same. I am not the flawless Lead Parent Mother of All Who Need Her. This is a partnership, and it's right for me.

I can remember almost eight years ago, standing over a five-pound baby wrapped like a burrito in his tiny hospital bed. I knew I needed to change his diaper. He had been born just a few hours ago, but it was time. I was paralyzed. I hadn't done it in years and didn't know where to begin. His legs were so little and he was so fragile. Then Jonathan gently touched my arm and asked if I needed help. I sat down and watched as tears started rolling down my cheeks. Not because I couldn't do it, but because he could. And because he would.

I know that's a weird memory to dredge up for Father's Day, but it was in that instance that I knew the three of us would be okay. Jonathan has taught me more about parenting than I could imagine. I wasn't ready, he wasn't ready, but I think that's how parenting goes, honestly. We help each other figure it out and we make it work. We aren't just a mother and a father, we're parents. Together.

In the years that followed, I saw my husband answer baby cries, sit on the edge of a toddler bed for hours, cook dinners, fix problems, mediate battles, help with homework, and brush the sweetest blonde curls. He doesn't do this because I ask him to, or because he loves me and thinks I need a babysitter. He does this because he's their dad.

Although being married to a man who bashes the Dad Stereotype has proven beneficial to my sanity, I think the best part is his example. Kids may learn to parent by watching their own {shout out to the in-laws!} and I love to think that mine are soaking this up. They see that dads aren't just second bananas. It can be easy for us to get caught up in the "I changed the last diaper!" trenches of parenthood, but it's more than that. It's not who does what and why. It's about helping new people grow because you love them. I thank Jonathan {a man of all things} for teaching me that.

Here's to the dads who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty, so to speak.

I want to wish a Happy {Early} Father's Day to all the men who have spent countless hours raising, encouraging, and molding their children into good people. You are more important than you realize. Not just to the kids who look up to you, but to the partners who stand right beside you.

Now, grab a cold beer and turn on the tube. It's almost Father's Day, after all!

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

As usual, I'm way behind on my blog reading. But I love this. I hate when people refer to Hubby as another kid, or worse - a babysitter. I can't imagine doing the parent thing without my other half.