So, this may not be your typical Father’s Day post, but because that special day is right around the corner, I feel like it’s important to talk about something that I’ve become very passionate about… How to encourage a co-parenting dad.
There seems to be this idea amongst many moms that dads don’t do enough to help with the kids. He’s either not involved, not understanding or not doing things right.
Can you relate to any of these feelings?
Ok, so I know this isn’t the case with every dad, but (unfortunately) this is how many dads are portrayed.
Why is this?
Well, here’s what I think… We contribute to this. I know, that was harsh. (Please bare with me as I try to explain myself!)
What if we as wives have made it so that our husbands can’t, or don’t know how to help us with the parenting responsibilities? I know for myself that there have been times that I didn’t bother asking for help because I felt it would be too exhausting to explain.
And other times, I had a hard time letting my husband do something because I knew a “better way”.
Is it possible that we get overwhelmed because we have, in a way, chosen to do these responsibilities ourselves?
Whether it’s doing everything or even just feeling as if you are, I’d love to help you out!
3 Ways to (Gently) Encourage a Co-Parenting Dad
My husband and I have been married for almost 8 years. Although we are nowhere close to having all the answers, we have learned so much about what we both need when it comes to sharing responsibilities.
Note that this has been our path to success, and isn’t the only path to success. That said, I hope these tips work for you, too!
Unfortunately, your husband can’t read your mind. It’s not always going to be easy for him to know what you’re happy, sad, surprised or irritated about. Even if he does, it may not be clear how he can be of help.
Most dads really do want to help. It can be just as stressful to him when he sees you’re overwhelmed and he doesn’t know what he should do.
Whether it’s changing diapers, washing dishes, taking over the night shift feedings or watching the kids so you can have some alone time, help him by communicating your needs to him.
I know what I want and how I plan on doing it. Letting someone else take over is not easy, but it is so important for two reasons:
1. To give you a much-needed break, and
2. For your husband to have some very special solo moments with the kids
A thriving co-parenting dad needs to feel like he is needed by both you and the kids! That bonding time is invaluable, as kids need to see their father involved in their lives just as much as they need to see their mom.
Dad also needs to figure out who he is as a father. Just as it was/is difficult for you to learn the challenges that come with parenting, he needs these learning points as well.
Taking this time to learn away from your watchful eyes, frees him from the fear of making mistakes.
So what if he uses 10 more wipes than needed for that diaper? Look at it as one less diaper that you have to change.
Maybe things aren’t done the way that you would do them. It’s simple: Be thankful for his help. Dads don’t need us moms to “slap their wrists” for doing something wrong or different.
I’m not saying that we need to praise them for for everything they do, but just as much as we like to hear it, dads like to know they are appreciated too.
OK, so you might be thinking, “This is not rocket science,” and if that’s the case, you’re right!
These simple and straightforward tips can be really useful in helping you and your husband resolve some of the tension that comes with parenting. While there are some exceptions, most husbands desire to be involved fathers and superhero co-parenting dads for you. Let’s help him out and support him in this co-parenting dad journey.
It’s common to feel that your spouse doesn’t do as much as you around the house. It’s ok if you’ve felt that way! Now, let’s take the chance to get over that and move forward together as a co-parenting dad and mom.
Have you struggled with this? We’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below.