When I was pregnant with my oldest child, one sister-in-law gave me a great piece of advice.
She advised letting Johnny comfort the kids when they cry as much as possible,
so that I wasn't the only person who could calm them.
I've thought a lot about her words since then, and I'm so glad I listened to her wisdom.
Fathers are often ridiculed in today's society as unhelpful, incompetent, and uninvolved in their children's lives. Television furthers that idea by portraying fathers who refuse to change diapers or wake up in the middle of the night.
As a counselor, I've worked with couples who neglect to see the benefit of sharing child-rearing duties more equally. There is added stress applied to the family when the couple does not help each other. Unfortunately, in most of the couples I've seen that struggle with this stress, it is the Mom who pushes Dad away from childcare. She doesn't trust him to do it the right way, also known as her way. After some time, the Dad stops trying to help because his efforts are squashed, and an uneasy bond is formed with the children.
Hence couples counseling or family counseling is needed to reduce the stress and balance roles.
Moms play an important role in their child's life.
For nursing babies, Mom is literally the source of food and life in the child! Mothers are nurturers and teachers in the home, demonstrating a daily example of love and service for family members.
But fathers are important too!
Fathers not only provide for the family's needs - physically and emotionally - but they are also teachers, protectors, and demonstrators of service in the home.
I am grateful that I listened to my sister-in law and allowed Johnny to be a second source of comfort to our children. It has become a relief for me and a source of pride for him. He sees the love and trust our kiddos have for him, and he can feel satisfaction that he is a great father. Our kids' faces light up when he comes home from work, and they run to him happily saying, "Daddy's home" as he swoops them up in his arms. Could life be more picturesque?
When our children were babies, I admit that sometimes it hurt when they chose Dad over me to dry their tears. "But I'm your Mom," I would think to myself, "I birthed you! Come cry to me."
But then I would remember the countless times I had comforted them, and I'd allow myself to trust that I am a good Mom. I don't have to be their one and only to feel adequate as a mother. I can be secure in my role as a Mom by letting Johnny be secure in his role as a Dad. Together we make a good team.
If your family situation allows you to do so, encourage your children's father to be an active participant in their lives. Allow him to reach his potential as a father. Try not to demand that he mimic your actions exactly, but allow him the freedom to learn and grow with the children. Over time you'll see growth in the home.
Labels: Emotional Health, Marriage, Parenting