It may not be “Mommy’s way,” but it’s our way.

I loved this excerpt from an article I read today:

“Although we’re doing MUCH better in this regard than we were a few years ago, dads still aren’t taken very seriously when it comes to parenting. In many circles we’re just clueless/unwilling partners who need a whole lot of hand holding to do the job well. Society oftentimes doesn’t trust us to do anything parenting-related (the lack of changing tables in men’s restrooms is an example). Some moms (not all moms) don’t trust us, so they’ll micromanage the hell out us – which in turn, takes all of the joy and discovery out of fatherhood.

Dads aren’t wired with maternal instincts (which leads to a lot of parental insecurity on our end) and we’re still fighting the stigmas and stereotypes society places on us – but at the end of the day, our kids trust us to do the right thing for them. The way we do things may not be “Mommy’s way” or the “best way,” but it’s our way – and if the kids are safe and happy, that’s all that matters.”

I’m blessed with a wondeful, engaged dad, and my husband is equally wonderful and engaged with our daughter. To me this is normal and necessary. In another lifetime, dads were busy hunting wooly mammoths and making fire and whatnot, while mommas focused on child rearing, and that makes sense. But life evolves.

Men and women are still wired differently, and may naturally gravitate to different household roles, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of societal expectations. I think it’s unfair to lump dads into a category of inferior parenting based on gender alone. It feeds a self-fulfilling prophecy, bruising their confidence in something society already suggests they won’t be as good at.

People often comment on my husband’s role with our daughter, expressing surprise that he has watched her alone over a weekend, taken her to doctor’s appointments or put her to bed solo. I get defensive for him. Of course he can do all those things. Isn’t it a disservice to not expect this as the norm?

Every family has unique circumstances and needs, and happiness and balance take on lots of different forms in different situations. I admit it sometimes requires a concerted effort on my end to not micromanage and share “my way” of doing things, so that he can have his own.

Someone sent me this article months ago and I have reread it many, many times, excerpt below:

“We do things differently, we worry differently, we parent differently. He thinks I make the bath too hot, I think he makes the bath too cold. We are technically parenting side-by-side, yes, but sometimes it feels like we’re on opposite sides in a fierce game of tug-of-war. I often feel like we’re each trying to pull the other person over to our own side. The Right Side.

But if co-parenting is teaching me anything, it is teaching me this: there is no “right” way to parent these children when both of us love them unconditionally. There is no right way to make a snack or pour a bath or sing a song or even, much to my dismay, dress a baby. There is His Way and there is My Way, and they are each right in their own way. We do things differently, and that’s okay. We are passionate about different issues, and that’s okay. Our parenting styles are not one in the same, and probably never will be. We are learning to be consistent with rules and discipline, but there is also a lot of grey area that we’re simply learning to embrace.

Maybe that’s the beauty of parenting alongside someone else. Maybe we each make up for what the other person lacks, and maybe our strengths and weaknesses balance each other out. Maybe it’s okay for one parent to worry about preschool enrollment while the other parent diagnoses mysterious rashes. After all—both need to be taken care of, right?”

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One thought on “It may not be “Mommy’s way,” but it’s our way.

  1. I also get annoyed when people overly praise Miles for parenting the kids as I think it reinforces the expectation that dad’s are clueless. He watched the kids while I was gone a couple weekends ago and people were almost surprised or they would tell me, “he did such a great job.” And he did, as he always does, but I wasn’t worried he wouldn’t. Plus, I do the same damn thing day in and day out and where’s my praise?!

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