“I want to ride in Daddy’s truck!” “I go outside with Daddy!” “Build with me, Daddy!”
These are all things I hear on a regular basis at our house. Until recently our almost-three-year-old has been a bit of a momma’s boy (aren’t they all at first??). But as he gets older, that is starting to change more and more.
Oh sure, he still loves to cuddle, and I’m the one he runs to when he’s hurt or upset, but Daddy is a much better playmate. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
This month’s “What I Love About Motherhood” is actually an ode to my invaluable partner in this wild exciting parenting journey – their Daddy.
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When I was reaching the age of thinking about my future husband and scoping out the prospects, I knew I was looking for someone who would be a good father to my kids. I knew that was a non-negotiable even when I wasn’t even sure I wanted kids. I knew enough about parenting to know it was hard, and I didn’t want to do it without a great partner by my side.
And boy, did I get a good one.
Levon is a natural at being a dad. He was ready for kids long before I was, and it was something he deeply desired. From the moment we welcomed Aidan into the world (actually, before then – he was an AWESOME labor coach), he has been involved, hands-on, and an integral part of our parenting team. He was actually more confident than I was when we brought home our first baby, and he has led our family with that same kind of knowledgeable confidence ever since.
But sometimes … I lose sight of that.
Being the mom, I definitely do more of the daily work of caring for the kids. Feeding them, changing them, cleaning up after them. The fifty million nighttime feedings, the maddening fussiness, the juggling act of running errands with a toddler and baby in tow.
Can I be straight with you? Sometimes, I get really angry and bitter. I get resentful about his freedom to go where he wants and do what he wants whenever he wants. I grow frustrated over his apparent blindness to the messes. I even get a little annoyed over his lack of breasts! I get tired of always having to be the one to feed the baby. (Yes, I could pump and let him feed him. But frankly, it feels easier to just do it myself than to mess with the hassle.)
I share these feelings with you all because I have a sneaking suspicion that you mommas have been there, too. And sometimes we are perfectly justified in feeling that way! I heard from a marriage speaker once that men, in general, are natural takers and women, in general, are natural givers. If we’re not careful, we will continue to give, give, give, and our husbands will continue to take, take, take simply because they don’t realize we’re spent and we don’t ask for help.
So yes, sometimes the workload of parenting does get a little lopsided.
But it doesn’t happen as often as I’m tempted to think it does.
In those moments when I’m tired and worn out, I forget that he’s tired and worn out, too. He has a very physically demanding job and is in charge of a crew of men. He shoulders the responsibility for the jobs assigned to them and, literally, the lives of the men he is working with.
In those moments when I’m tired and worn out, I forget that he’s tired and worn out, too.
On top of the responsibilities if his day job, he also leads and directs our family. I help, advise, and share as much as possible, but he bears the greater responsibility for the provision and security of our family. This is a responsibility that he takes very seriously and manages incredibly well.
And yet, even being as physically and mentally exhausted as I know he must be, he also manages to be a hands-on dad. He plays, teaches, disciplines, holds, comforts, engages, leads. He’s not afraid of a poopy diaper (although he does offer to rock-paper-scissors me for them), and he often takes a greater share of the care in social settings because he knows that I, as the extrovert in our relationship, enjoy being able to socialize.
What am I loving about motherhood this month? Watching my boys with their dad. It’s better than I ever imagined it would be. He’s a pretty great one, and a wonderful partner. I wouldn’t want to do this without him.
But I forget that sometimes.
This month, can I offer a challenge to both of us? Let’s make a greater effort to show our appreciation to our husbands. When we are tempted to pursue thoughts of bitterness or irritation over what they aren’t or don’t do, let’s replace those thoughts with gratitude for what they are and do. Whether your husband is father of the year or not, seek out the good. Be intentional about looking for the positive aspects of his fatherhood and be quick to thank him for them.
I know I don’t do it often enough, so that’s what I will be working on. You’re welcome to join me in the challenge!
If you can relate to my struggle and would like to join me, let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you!
As always, thanks for reading!
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