Monday, March 10, 2008

Daddies aren't babysitters/Mommies shouldn't be martyrs

I am blessed to have a wonderful husband. I know this. This is why I picked him. Early on in our marriage we started talking about kids and how we would raise them. We talked about the fact that it is a joint effort and we would both be involved in the daily raising of our children. After Landry was born, I showed Clay how to deal with a baby. I showed him how to bathe him, feed him, clothe him, change him, and pretty much anything else that I knew and he didn't. I did know alot more about babies than he did because while he was playing baseball in Jr high I was babysitting. I also, have read every book on child development, temperament,and disease, as well as any article from any magazine pertaining to children that has crossed my path. Anything of importance that I know about babies and kids I share with Clay. We grew into this parenting partnership together.

Therefore, when I have a fun night planned with my friends, Clay has absolutely no problem handling the kids himself. Clay can and often does take the kids on weekend getaways by himself. Most evenings, when he is in town, he bathes the kids, by himself, and puts them to bed. He can dress them, feed them, play with them, take them to the store and get them to school as well.

How,you may ask, did I get him to do this? I will tell you the secret......I expect no less and neither does he.

Many of our friends ask us for advice on this topic. We have come to realize that Clay is a much more hands on dad than most men. We often hear the wife's side of the story and we hear anger, resentment and exhaustion, but we also hear a lot of martyrdom. Wives want their husbands to want to help out and not have to be asked. Or they decide that they never do it right so they might as well do it themselves. I have to say, sister, that you are bringing this on yourself. Your husband is not about to get off the couch and help if he doesn't have to. More importantly, if he knew that this would make him your hero he might be more willing to jump off the couch and help you out. But you have to communicate this to him. He cannot read your mind. He is capable of helping and he probably will, if you ask him and let him.

Now, he may not do things the way you want them done and you either have to accept that or make him a list and show him how to do it your way. Don't expect him to do it your way all by himself. Give him the same respect you would any other caretaker of your kids and be specific. I think it is disrespectful to say that we "train" our men. I think you have to communicate your needs and desires and then help them along the way. Would you want to be "trained". Kind of degrading, huh?

Give them encouragement for a job done and love for a job well done.

To wrap this up...Guys, get off your butts and help your wife!!!!!!!!!!!!! You both live in the house. You both have children. You both have jobs that are extremely stressful. If you think for one minute that we spend our days shopping and lunching with friends while you are hard at work earning a living.... you are grossly mistaken. Do you have any idea what it takes to keep a home and family going. Take us out of the picture for a week and you will sink by yourself. We need a break at the end of the day, too. We need to have our husbands come home and take ownership in the home we established together and be a team player. Don't miss the opportunity to establish an intimate relationship with your kids and your wife. Girls, quit letting them or making them ride the bench. They can do anything you can do. It's not the fifties anymore!


Natalie said...

I too have a great husband that is a great Daddy! I think my kids would worry that something was wrong with Daddy if he were home and didn't do the bath and bedtime routine! I agree....the communication is KEY!

Chrystal Sturm said...

I just listened to a great podcast on by the authors of Men are Like Waffles and Women are Like Spaghetti (I know). They had some really, really good insight on how men and women think and emote and behave. Some of thier thoughts and ideas are contained in your post! Do you know them? Are you BFF? Anyway...yeah, good word. I'm so glad that Clay is such a great husband and dad. You deserve a good man, Lita!!! God is so good.

Chrystal Sturm said...

Bill and Pam Ferrel are the authors....

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