Fast forward and find my husband as the dad of 3 very young kids. My inexperienced, sweaty pre-baby husband blossomed into a caring, doting father the moment he first held our firstborn. When we suffered a miscarriage, this impacted Michael more than I expected and made him appreciate our babies that much more. Nothing is ever a given when it comes to children in any aspect, and we learned that lesson early.
Keen to carve out his role right away, Michael immediately jumped in and found a spot he could ‘own’. He practically wrestled our scrawny newborn from the nurse when it was bath time, I sat quietly (so hard!) as he learned how to bath our child. Since then, I can count on two hands the number of baths I’ve given the kids over the last 6.5 years.
Not one to read parenting books or search online to define his parenting style, the Daddy in this house parents by instinct. He learns by doing. And redoing, until his roles are firmly stamped down.
He’s a team player but he also likes to have his own domain. Parenthood is no different so bathing, swimming, all sports and haircuts are some of the things I don’t meddle with. And that’s where the fatherhood confidence comes from – practise makes perfect. Sometimes moms get too concerned about details and we don’t allow dads to step in. Yet in order for Dad to step up to the task for being a good dad, Mom needs to move over and allow him to find his own way.
Because Michael has been so hands on from the start, he has always understood how HARD this job of parenting is. He’s never stood at the sidelines. In the drowning moments of parenthood, many men throw a symbolic life preserver to their wife along with passive sympathy. Instead, Michael does the unexpected, he climbs into the situation and works with me to fix the problem, whether that be sleep training a child single-handedly, owning puke patrol or finally making the call that we need a date night and booking a babysitter.
He’s that guy. The kind of Dad that Hallmark cards are made of. I lucked out big time.
Now, not everything is perfect nor is it always roses in the parenthood department. I like that he leads with instinct yet I don’t always agree with his tactics. But they are HIS tactics, and I do respect that. And I owe him that respect as he gives it wholeheartedly to me when it comes to how I choose to mother. Together, we are raising 3 fabulous kids with our combined parenting strategy and so far, it’s working really well for us.
I looked back on Father’s Day pictures from the past 7 years and there’s a consistency in each picture. Sheer joy. And a pride that leaves no words. My guy’s guy husband can go to mush with emotion over the raw love and vulnerability that comes with being a parent. Those traits I love and appreciate so much.
3 things I've learned from my husband to be a better parent:
Find Joy in the Simple Things
The way a baby’s giggle is simply contagious, that’s what childhood should be about. Don’t contaminate it with our adult stuff, just enjoy it with your children.
Treat each experience like it’s the first time.
A tough one to do when it feels like life is on repeat, but parents need to remember each experience is new to our kids. Watch your child’s face when they discover something new and it will become new again to you through their eyes.
Celebrate the Kid in Yourself
That’s something Michael does very well, and reminds boring me of that often. It’s FUN to use silly voices, dance like a maniac, and run around using your outside voice INSIDE. And the kids love it!
Happy Father’s Day Michael, you’re an incredible example of what a father should be. xo