This week I wanted to give you all a little treat, so I’ve asked my wife to write this post. My wife, Bettina, will now be writing once a month here on DADandFATHER.com. She’s a little shy about sharing her writing with the world, but as you’ll see her shyness is unwarranted. Enjoy.
So to preface this blog post, let me clarify something – I do not claim to speak for every mom (or woman for that matter) out there. All I can tell you is my own personal perspective as a woman and a mother who is in love with a man and a father, and who was raised by a mother and a father. A couple more disclaimers: number 1; when I talk about “dad” in this post I mean the male figure in a child’s life. Maybe the child in your life doesn’t share your DNA, or he or she doesn’t live with you full-time. Doesn’t matter. “Dad” still refers to you. Number 2: I tend to over-generalize sometimes. I understand that family relationships are very unique and do not mean to offend in any way. More often now than ever before, dad stays home with the kids while mom works; a “role reversal” or so Hollywood would have us believe. Again, doesn’t matter. You are still dad (see disclaimer one) with all the rights and responsibilities that go along with the title. Ok, now that the intro stuff is out-of-the-way, let’s get started, shall we?
On one hand, I’m glad Mother’s day and Father’s day are so close together; it makes it much easier to compare and contrast how society views each parental role. On the other hand, there is SO much hoopla that surrounds Mother’s day that Father’s day being only 5(ish) weeks later seems kind of unfair. Mothers are lauded as being these super-human beings that handle pregnancy, childbirth, feeding, cleaning, laundry, dishes, no sleep, no appreciation, and no pay with a smile. While that may be an accurate assessment of what countless moms go through there is little said about dad who has her back. Mom may be the one up doing the 3 midnight feedings, but dad certainly doesn’t sleep through it. Mom may be the one doing the dishes Every. Single. Moment. Of Every. Single. Day. But dad is the one who comes home from work and doesn’t say anything about how bad the counter looks. Mom may be the one who has to deal with pregnancy and childbirth but dad…well ok really dad doesn’t have much to put up with during that time – and no, you’re not allowed to talk about the emotional rollercoaster you’re put through because of mom’s mood swings. Mom is growing a life – what have you done today?
In all seriousness though, mom will have a MUCH harder time being that superhero that she is idolized for if she is doing this alone. Whether “dad” in this picture is biological or not; or “with” mom or not is of very little consequence. Mom needs someone to turn to – because as Five for Fighting reminds us, “Even heroes have the right to bleed”. There’s an old adage that says some variation of, “behind every good (or successful) man, there is a great woman”. This saying is certainly true but it is no less true that, “behind every great tall-building-leaping mom, is a shoulder-offering male father figure”.
Dads, don’t let anyone tell you that you are the “inferior” or “less important” parent. Yes, mom is important. But you are absolutely irreplaceable in your child’s life! Let me say that again – your child NEEDS you. When I watch Jeff interact with our girls I am reminded again how fortunate we all are to have him in our lives. Our girls adore him – and they need him for different reasons than they need me. One request: please don’t turn mom and dad into “good cop/bad cop” to your child(ren). Children need both parents to be on the same page, at least for the most important issues, in order to be able to form good ideals, opinions, and an understanding of how the world works.
Dads are kind of the unsung heroes of the parenting world. If mom is the movie star that gets all the attention; dad is the camera operator that knows how to present mom in her best light so she doesn’t look old and haggard. Mom is the news anchor that you see every night on the news; dad is the editor or the beat writer that does all the research that goes into what she says. I cannot stress enough how important you are. So whether you’re reading this and you are a dad already, or planning to be a dad one day soon(ish) please know that we moms appreciate your support for us in our good times and bad, the pretty and the ugly, and that you really do mean the world to us. Maybe you aren’t a dad, but you know one – go shake that dad’s hand or give him a good high-five and tell him how much you admire him for doing what he does.