I often make it a point to compliment my hubby on various things such as his looks or his art skills, but I don’t equally acknowledge that the way he parents our children is an essential part of their growth and development. We’ve learned a lot about each other and ourselves during this journey and I’m thankful that we’re doing it together. I’ve come to understand that while I call myself trying to teach him somethings, he has taught me lessons as well. Lessons that only an active and present father can teach:
As long as it gets done, be done with it
I’m still working on accepting that as long as he gets it done, I need to sit down somewhere and let him do it, his way. The control freak in me gets caught up in having things done a certain way, especially with our children. As our children are getting older, I find myself saying, “F*ck it” and “To hell with it!”, more freely. Trying to keep up with the tedious details of who, what, when, why, where, and how is beyond exhausting; our household is much more harmonious when I don’t major in minors. It’s liberating to leave some things up to daddy!
Mothers aren’t the authority on nurturing
No matter how far we’ve come, today’s ‘modern’ society still holds on to archaic beliefs about the roles of men and women. Though, I agree with some of these beliefs, I also understand that we have to allow room for stretching beyond our self-imposed boundaries. Nurturing doesn’t come natural to all mothers. I’ve seen some fathers who have nurtured their children more effectively than the mothers. By definition, nurture means: to care for and encourage the growth or development of. There are definitely times when my husband nurtures our children because I am unable or sometimes, unwilling. Yes, I shamefully admit that sometimes I don’t feel like nurturing my children; Lord forgive me. I’m thankful that God has Blessed me with a man who is willing and able to fill the void when mommy isn’t on her A game.
Supporting roles often take the lead
When our babies are born, mothers are the primary caregiver, especially if we’re breastfeeding. Daddies get involved by staying ready to swoop in and assist, giving support as needed. Mothers are usually so attached to our children that we forget that we aren’t the only players in this game of life. We forget that daddies are fully capable of fulfilling our children’s needs. Oftentimes, daddies have to take the lead, allowing us mothers to rest and remember that there’s more to life than just being someone’s mother. Those moments when my hubby says, “I’ve got it”, “I did it already”, or my all time favorite: “I’ll take the kids with me”, are priceless and gladly rewarded!
Keep your emotions in check
More often than not, I have cried whenever I’ve attended even the simplest ceremony or program for my children. Just yesterday, I had to get myself together at my daughter’s cheer competition when her team won 1st place. Sometimes when my hubby and I are talking about our children, I start crying because I pray that they will grow up and live full lives. Or I’m feeling bad about not being the best mother that I know I can be. Or I’m frustrated with the challenges of parenthood. Or—-you get the point; it doesn’t take much for me to cry. God knew what He was doing when my hubby and I crossed paths; He knew that I needed a man who was strong physically, mentally, and emotionally. My hubby has his moments, but for the most part, he is the definition of an Alpha male. He is no-nonsense, he doesn’t waste time on crying, whining, or tantrums. And these are some of the best qualities to possess when you have children. Parenthood isn’t for wimps! When I’m on the verge or in the midst of one of my emotional episodes, he steps in and gives our children the logic and sensibility they need.
Be brave and admit when you’ve messed up
Showing vulnerability to our children is a struggle because they depend on us to be all knowing and all doing. At times, my pride has hindered me from admitting the areas in which I need to improve. I’ve learned from my hubby that’s it’s okay to let our kids know that we aren’t perfect; that we make mistakes. I became so focused on protecting our children from the big bad world that I didn’t realize that I was crippling their perception of reality by not showing them my faults as a parent. Because he is such a super macho man, I know that being vulnerable isn’t easy for him, but he has shown us that it’s necessary if we want our children to be accountable and responsible. He’s also shown us that our faults do not define us and that change is possible if we keep striving despite our mistakes.
Self-sufficiency is earned, not given
When it comes to coddling, I’m guilty as sin. Tying in with my propensity to be emotional, I have enabled my children more times than I like to admit and I’ve regretted it when they act spoiled. Both my hubby and I pride ourselves on being independent and self-sufficient, but I have to admit that he is better at instilling this in our children. Our daughter needs this especially right now, because she is a pre-teen learning life skills that will be her guide as she matures. It is important that our son starts to learn this lesson now because, he is a Black male in America. Our lil man has already started to mimic my husband’s stoic mannerisms and unwavering determination. Though, I give him flack about being so hard on them, I’m grateful that he is teaching our children that self-sufficiency is earned, not given.
As Father’s Day approaches, I reflect on some of the reasons why I chose to marry and raise a family with my hubby. He has many traits like my maternal grandfather, who was much more of a daddy/father figure to me than my biological father. Of course, there are other lessons we learn from the Fathers in our lives; these are just a few that stand out to me. What lessons are you learning or have learned from the Fathers that you know?