Often, when Alain and I are doing an activity with Luca and Andre during the day, I look around and realize that he is the only dad among a sea of moms. It happens at Gymboree classes, at the weekly library reading for children, at preschool events, at the pediatrician…
The fact that he’s a lone dad does not seem to cross his mind. He’s just happy doing the dad thing, enjoying the moment. But it makes a big impact on me. I think about how lucky I am to have such an involved partner in rearing our children and I also think about what his presence is teaching our sons. I hope they will grow up to be as great as their dad is.
For those moms out there who wish a little more involvement from the male side of the parent set, I have heard that these two tips are of most value:
Be appreciative - when he does something with or for the children, recognize it and thank him for it. This is not a time to dwell on how it is about time he helped, but rather appreciate the moment.
Don’t butt in- this one might be hard to do but, if you see him changing a diaper don’t rush in there to tell him about how he’s doing it wrong. Just let him do it. He’ll eventually get the hang of it just like you did. If there’s a leak later, don’t point it out. It’s a small price to pay for the help yet to come.
My friend Sarah relates the story about a day when she was tired and complaining about having to give her newborn a bath when she had so many other things to do. Her husband saw her distress and offered support with the bathing. A few minutes later she peeked in to see how things were going: he was “bathing” her with wipes! Sarah bit her tongue and let him do it, then thanked him profusely. He now bathes both of their children in the morning whenever she asks, no wipes involved.