Moms, Lets Give him a Chance to be a Dad
My son had a baby last week. He was not married to the mother and they had barely begun their relationship when they found out she was pregnant. My grandson was born with a cleft palate and was in NICU for a week. Because he doesn’t have a palate he can’t suck like a normal baby and feeding him was, and continues to be a scary process taught by an occupational therapist at the hospital. I watched the therapist instruct these new parents on how to feed their child, but as do mothers throughout history, my grandchild’s mother took the central role in learning and mastering this difficult process. I watched my son struggle to learn the technique, but as attuned as he was, he just couldn’t do it as good as mom.
This is an age old story. In my day, dad’s just took the back seat and moms were the nurturer, the caregiver, the tuned in parent, and dad’s showed up for football game and the disciplining.
Well, to my delight and surprise, my son continued to pursue the knack of feeding his son. He was clumsy and awkward at first, and there was lots of choking, but his understanding and sweet partner stepped back, held her breath and let him be a daddy. A hand’s on daddy. They have made a pact, whether they stay together or not that she will not deny him equal parenting and timesharing, the equal role as a parent and the respect to encourage their son to love his father and trust him to make the right choices for their child, even when she is not around.
In watching parents who go through divorce or paternity actions and must co-parent, I know it must be difficult for the Mom to let go and give their child’s father the room to be a good parent, a nurturing parent and a plugged in parent. We moms’ are so quick to swoop in and take over. We feel we can do it better, perhaps we can, but the longer and more often we do it, the more inadequate the child’s father usually feels. Fathers end up believing that they are the inferior parent, especially when it comes to very young children, who are so dependent on us for everything.
Perhaps part of a Mother’s mindset is our pride, as giving birth and nursing a child is one of the few things that not only can we do better than a man, we have the exclusivity on this most important life function. So we just naturally assume that we are better equipped to care for our children.
I am sure that in the years to come, our children will still run to mommy first when they have a skinned knee or another child has hurt their feelings….we are the nurturer, but one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is two parents. Two parents that love their child enough to teach them to not only love their other parent, but enough to allow them the privilege of a relationship with their Father, from the beginning of their life, who is allowed a hands on, frequent,- 50/50 if possible time with them.
Now Dads, I have asked Mom’s to trust you, so it’s up to you to step up to the plate and be that dad!