Our family recently spent a week battling the flu. All four of us came down with the virus at varying degrees. Ms. J probably had the worst of it so we decided a visit to the doctor was required. During our visit Ms. J was sitting on the exam table, a little nervous, and called out for her Daddy. The doctor looked at us both, her eyes reflecting the surprise she felt in hearing Ms. J ask for Daddy rather than Mummy, and with a confused tone exclaimed “oh we have a Daddy’s girl”. Explaining that she sees more Mummies girls than Daddies girls, she went on to examine our little princess while Ms.J sat quite content in her Daddy’s arms.
There are so many indications that hands on fatherhood isn’t a given in our society. Recently Mr. C. and I were watching a stand up comedy routine where the comedian stated he “hated babysitting his kids” Ummmm..if they are YOUR kids it’s not called babysitting, it’s called parenting!
I’ve also heard from other Mummies stories of having to take on the brunt of the parenting duties as their husbands seem to think it’s not their responsibility.
This is not even taking into account all of the absent father’s roaming around out there.
Let me first make it clear that I had a very hands on Dad, who was there every step of the way. To this day there are times when I turn to my Mum for advice/comfort and there are times when I turn to my Dad.
I, in turn, have chosen a husband who is a very hands on Dad. In the 4 1/2 years since we’ve been parents I don’t think I’ve seen him turn down a parenting duty. Sure there are times when he’s tired, times when he’s frustrated, times when out of sheer desperation he begs “you’ve got bedtime tonight because I’m done”. He’s no different from me, as the mother. I have just as many of these moments. Mr. C. has changed his fair share of dirty diapers, cleaned bottles, comforted a sick crying baby and has even been barfed/peed/pooped on. The only thing he never took part in was breastfeeding 😉
There have been times when others assume he isn’t as capable just because he’s the Dad. I’ve often seen people, specifically women, assume he’s unsure and unqualified to take care of his own children! In the beginning I think he wasn’t as confident in his abilities as he should have been but as the years have passed he’s become as self assured as any mother. Meaning, of course he questions himself at times. Every parent does. I think that at this point he is aware that he’s doing a pretty good job.
Both Mr. T. and Ms. J alternate who they turn to for comfort. There are times when they call out for me
and times they search for Daddy.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So why is equal parenting not the norm? This is the year 2013! I think maybe I would feel differently and not have the same expectations of Mr. C if I didn’t work full time and was instead a full time Mum. Fact of the matter is I do work full time and so does Mr. C. This means that we are a team. We share all responsibilities equally, that includes parenting.
More importantly, I don’t think Mr. C. would have it any other way. He loves being a part of the every day life of his kids. He takes on the parenting challenges with finesse. He’s also smart enough to know that by accepting the challenges he gets to reap the beautiful rewards. The dirty work is overshadowed by the cuddles, giggles, kisses and hugs. Without the hard stuff he wouldn’t get quite as much of the good stuff.
I am so thankful that I found someone, who like my own Dad, would choose a night at home with his family over a night out drinking it up with the boys. Maybe I’m crazy in thinking that it’s normal for a father to participate in the same way as a mother. Call it crazy but this is our normal and we wouldn’t have it any other way. And I love Mr. C even more because of it.