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Something I think is great about On Becoming Pre-Toddlerwise is the section of advice for Dads. I think when we are discussing “parenting” we often focus on “mothering.” I know I do here. Sure, it makes sense. I am a mom, the blog is Chronicles of a Babywise MOM, and it would probably be rather annoying to have me “preaching” to men about what they should be doing as fathers.
But that doesn’t mean fathers should be neglected. I know some of you readers are fathers. So here are some ideas of things you can do as fathers. If this is something you dad readers are interested in, I am happy to delve further into ideas for dads–even with different ages. Despite the fact that I don’t write about it, I have plenty of ideas. I am a woman after all :).
Ezzo and Bucknam discuss the role of fathers as “demonstrating a servant leadership” in the home (page 32). I love this focus on leadership, and think it applies to any leadership position of any gender. Let’s discuss the ideas from Pre-Toddlerwise for how fathers can accomplish this in the home.
Show honor to your wife. Treat her as your wife, not “just” as the mother of your children. Ideas for this are acts of service, undivided attention, and words of encouragement. If you have read any of the posts on Love Languages, you will find those three ideas very familiar. If you haven’t ready those, do so, then go buy the book “The Five Love Languages” for men.
Another way to show honor is a weekly date night. This does wonders for the relationship and wonders for your wife’s psyche. If you want her to act like more than a mother (in other words, like your wife), you have to put her into an environment that lets her tune into that person. Dates don’t have to be expensive or extravagant. For a mother, going grocery shopping is a “break” from the mundane, so a simple walk without the kids can be enough.
Tell your wife thank you for the things she does at home. Since getting married almost 7 years ago, my husband has thanked me every single week for doing the laundry. He doesn’t thank me for everything I ever do, but I do notice the laundry. He probably pays special attention to it because he knows it is my most hated chore. A woman really never gets thanked for all she does, and every little thank you means a lot.
And if you do this in front of your children, think of what a benefit it will be to them and the family dynamic. They will thank mom more often if they see dad thanking. They will also think about the things done for them rather than taking them for granted. This will make them more aware and more grateful people in general.
Be on the same page as your wife when it comes to parenting. In order to do this, you will need to come home from work and sit down and talk to her about the day. Ask what the children did. Ask how the day went. Find out the conflicts that happened and how your wife handled them. Discuss strategies for helping your children become better people.
By doing this, you and your wife will be a parenting team. Then on the weekend when you are there all day, you will know the routine. Then when your child is old enough to try the trick of asking both parents to see which answer he likes best, you will be in sync with each other. There will be great consistency and predictability in your children’s lives.
This relates to like-mindedness. “Women appreciate a husband who is willing to participate in the ‘knowledge’ side of parenting” (page 34). This is very true. In various groups, I often see the question “did your husband read the books?” followed by a long list of replies that essentially say “no” and leaving everyone feeling better that their husband is not the only one who isn’t reading the books.
Read the books! You can read each book in a couple of hours. Very easy read. Or ask your wife to recommend a few key posts from this blog if you feel like you can’t muster the time to read the books. You need to know why you are doing what you are doing as a parent.
You can also be ‘mom for a day’ and go through the day as your wife would. Not as a dad would–as a mom would. Be informed about what is going on in your child’s life.
I know for many of you this is a new concept. About a year ago, I was very sick (throwing up and fainting and such). My husband stayed home and took care of the kids, but had to ask me all day who was doing what when. I finally told him that if I ever died, the kids’ schedules are on the blog.
This brings us to the value of something like couch time when you can sit down each day and talk about what happened. Dad, ask. Mom, tell.
This is a good one. When you get home and see the house in shambles, don’t immediately jump to “what have you been doing all day?” or “why didn’t you clean the house?” Rather, ask your wife how her day was. Look for ways to help. If your wife has had an awful day and you walk in and get mad, you definitely won’t be helping the situation in the least.
Your duties as a husband are to support your wife, be a friend to your wife, and protect your wife. Honor her as your wife and as the mother of your children. A happy wife/mother leads to a happy family. Show her love, and you will get it in return.
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