Thursday, June 12, 2014

Daddy is so stupid

Nice title right? 
I don't love writing these kinds of posts because they also convict my own heart, but it is truth that needs to be said and heard. 

"Daddy is such an idiot." 
You would never say that right? 
Or would you? Maybe you do and are not aware of it?

I have seen several posts about the importance of dads and the respect due here and there lately (I am sure largely to Father's Day coming up) but in my opinion it's still not enough. 
The "You are saint for being a stay at home mom" posts still outnumber them 100 to 1. 

Lets start with the problems, then work on the solutions. 

1. Making fun of daddy 
I am beginning with this one because I am definitely guilty of this too. Whether it's "innocent" teasing about how to prepare the baby food or actual cruel joking about his skills as a dad, making fun of your husband for ways that he fathers because it doesn't line up with your same ideals will not only not help anything, it will greatly damage. My dad shared when he was officiating our wedding (as he does at many others) about never using sarcasm. I think I know what you are thinking, you guys are special right? You have a fun special relationship that sarcasm just works perfectly into? I say wrong. Sarcasm is fun when you are dishing it out but we have all experienced when someone uses sarcasm a bit too close to home on one of our own issues. I say avoid it. It almost always has an underlying message to that person. 

2. Being angry at him for not knowing how to do everything perfectly
The conversation goes something like this. "What is wrong with you. Don't you know you can't do x, y, z like that????" We are outraged and angry that they could forget to do what we see as a simple and basic task for the well being of our child. Let me ask you, do you remember being a new mom? Do you remember how you woke up every morning and had no idea what you were doing? You almost felt like someone was going to find out you had no clue what to do and deem you unfit for motherhood? I do. Over time we learned how to rock and sway that baby to sleep, how to distract the toddler while brushing those teeth in the back, or the art of changing a poopy diaper so quickly the baby doesn't have a chance to grab their own poop. Most of us mother all day every day. They don't! Give them the grace you wanted to receive from other moms who knew it all when you were first learning. Sure your kids may not be newborns anymore and you feel like he should know everything by now, but dad might not know that today your toddler decided to be scared of anything that looks like a worm, or that your baby is putting everything in his mouth. Give them time and grace instead of expectations and disappointment. 

3. Not extending Grace 
This ties in with the one above. You know when you are exhausted, it's 5:30 pm and you are about to lose it if you don't get a break or at least have 2 minutes in the bathroom SOON. You are flustered, frustrated and upset with the days' never ending demands. And that seems to justify in your mind any bad or rude behavior on your part. Moms tell each other all the time "oh it's ok you feel like you lost your temper or responded poorly, I do it. You are doing the best you can." I agree that grace is needed, always; but while we are very welcoming of it for ourselves we are stingy with giving it out to our husbands. We are a full-time mom so we are allowed to lose it and "need a break"  but when he gets home, fire might pour from our mouths if he doesn't jump in and help the second he walks in the door. I am not saying I think it's ok for a dad to zone out with a beer and the tv every night all night. Of course not...........but some nights? Yes. He needs a break too. Not because he is entitled to it more or less than you, but because you love him and want the best for him. In turn he will provide those breaks for you. But when both people are clenching and grabbing at "me time" I promise it either won't happen at all, or one person ends up bitter and angry every time the other gets a break. 

4. Treating Him like a Babysitter 
Daddy is just as much your child's parent as you are. I cringe to even write this but I cannot tell you how many times I have heard these words from so many people. "Can't you please pick up your own kid", "Can't you help me for a minute", "All I am asking you to do is watch the kids for 1 hour while I go shopping". I am sure you have heard it too. I have been guilty of saying it. What happens is you're replacing respect for him and instead treating him like someone who answers to you when it comes to parenting. What begins to happen is you feel like the parent and your husband the babysitter who needs specific instructions and help when it comes to watching his own children. Food for thought = While it may be true that you would not have put the toddler to bed with just nuts and ice cream as dinner or forgotten to put the baby in new clothes after eating banana, what you cannot see is all the fun, love and provision he was attending to with those children while you were gone. And guess what? They desperately need that. They need him and his specific ways of parenting them. Dads are not moms, and that doesn't mean what society tells us it means. Society says, "Dads are NO mothers" as if we are levels above them in skill and care taking, what I am saying is Dads are not moms and that is just as it should be. Don't step in constantly to do things your way and have your kids miss out on the important ways that daddy parents. 

5. Moms know they are the preferred parent, and often act on it
Something amazing, tiring and life changing happens that first year of motherhood. From birth on (but especially around months 10-14) there is one person that baby wants 24/7........and it is mama. If mom is in the room that baby will whine fuss and cry until she and she alone is holding them. This can often makes dads feel less loved or wanted by their children even though it is a very typical phase. Even with toddlers this is not uncommon. There was a solid 6 months with our first child where every single night when my husband would get home she would run away crying and screaming till she found me to hide behind. Can you imagine coming home to that? Instead of using that leverage in a fight or "need for a break" even more help your children have fun times with daddy by being near if that is helpful or being out of site if that is better. The days are coming when daddy will be the super hero fighter man and you won't appreciate it any more than he does if he says  "They want ME, they need ME".  This is part of parenthood. Go with the eb and flow as ONE UNIT. Not as competing ones. 

6. We treat them like they are stupid 
This is the overarching message we communicate with problems 1-5. Even if you do not say these words, your kiddos see every eye roll, death glare and muttered word that you direct at each other. Even worse, when you are constantly disrespecting daddy, your kids will begin to do the same thing. I have heard many stories of a moms being shocked when their child looks at their dad and says "what an idiot move dad" yet fails to understand where that child picked up on that kind of communication. Wives need to stop publicly (and privately) degrading their husbands as men and fathers. Have you ever been in a room when a husband and wife are fighting? Or when a she is just hurling "funny" insults on his "skills" as a father? Is there anything more uncomfortable and awkward about that situation. I am not making dads out to be blameless saints who never sin, but if you have issues with how he did bath time or is soothing the baby take your conversation behind closed doors or wait till you are alone together. Usually by then you will realize it really doesn't matter at all and is not worth the constant criticism of him. Let me tell you something else, if you as a wife never let up on every little thing he does wrong as a dad, he will often just stop trying. Who wants to put forth the effort when all they will get is pushed down?

Can we all make a conscious effort to stop with the criticism and degrading talk we often use when communicating with our husbands? We love them, we love their interactions with our kids and we need them. Choose to say these words instead of ones that damage. You cannot do this on your own strength, ask for God's help and when you fail, genuinely ask for forgiveness and start again. 

[Go and love your husbands and tell them how much you appreciate them and then buy them a case of beer and turn on the game.]

My husband wrote that last part when I asked him to proof-read it :) hehe, so I decided to leave it. 

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