What about the all-too-often overlooked other half of the parenting team? Mandy sets the record straight on the unsung heroes, the dads who jump in heart first…
Last Sunday, I awoke with a start from the best sleep I’d had in – well, over a year. My head was still foggy from the annals of slumber and I instantly knew something was wrong. Yes. No babbling had woken me – the room was heavy with the sweet sound of silence.
Crap, had I accidentally turned the monitor volume down (again)? Was he going on a screaming strike and protesting my obvious inability to wake up and parent? Or worse yet – had aliens abducted him?
I walked into the living room to find my grinning nine-month old climbing all over Mount Dad, who was placidly reclining in the middle of our toy-strewn activity center while being pinched, poked and drooled on.
I fell in love with him all over again.
When I met my husband, I instantly knew he’d be a good kisser. I was so very right. Almost as quickly, my instincts told me that this would be a man who would make a wonderful parent. Perhaps it was his childlike glee and constant pull to expand his horizons, or the tender way he took care of me when I was upset. Maybe it was the fact that he was more eager to start a family than I was… suffice to say, over the past seven years, no doubt remained in my mind that he was a ready-to-go-soccer-sideline-coaching-tear-wiping-mr.-fix-it daddy.
Fathers are often the unsung heroes of parenthood. Mothers are expected to tend to each need and carry the burden without complaint, but fathers have always been cast as the tertiary character, stepping in for one or two parental duties and back to whatever machismo activity they must complete. Yet, I’ve noted in the past few years, the traditional roles that have been carved out have been sanded down to more of a split shift, as is in our home. I am at ease when my husband takes the reigns – knowing he will care for our boy with a quiet confidence that used to be taboo for fathers to display. In fact, it strikes me as odd when people ask if my husband is babysitting while I am called to work.
Babysitting? His son?
No, he’s parenting.
I currently run two businesses, sit on several organizations and helm a local arm of my alma mater’s alumni association. I was a busy gal to start with. Then I added a wiggly monster that refuses to be in one place for any one length of time. Now I am drowning in a sea of diapers, deadlines and dire hope that I can balance it all.
My husband is the tempering weight on our family see-saw, juggling his job as a realtor and coordinating his own non-profit commitments while taking half of the child care role. His hands-on approach to our son has made him a major fixture and allowed me the capability to be both a stay-at-home mother and run my businesses effectively.
Granted, he has his moments. He hates cleaning poop, quietly coaching our son to eliminate waste only when he is off running errands. Occasionally, he will conveniently have to make a phone call when the whining ramps up. There is always the “1.2.3.Not It” game that rears its ugly head when one of us has to use the bulb syringe. He fought the Baby Bjorn with firey resolution.
Nonetheless, he is more than a father, he is a hero. The kind of man that cooks gourmet meals for us after a full day of work, while I watch cluelessly. The kind of man who watches Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with his son and coaches him on telling mommy that she’s pretty. The kind of man who wipes noses, cleans up upchuck and cuddles a hyperventilating infant without a word of complaint. The kind of man the reluctantly understands the words “I’m not in the mood.” The kind of man that gets up and lets his wife have the most glorious sleep ever.
The kind of man I married.
The kind of man I hope our son grows up to be.