Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Role of Dad

I recently offended a fellow journalist (who does a great job by the way) when I posted the "Welcome" blog and alluded to the idea that the "mom" does everything when it comes to kids. I said," I always get up with my kids. They always come to my side of the bed because I'm the mom."

I am so thrilled to say a dad was offended. After thinking about it, dads should be offended when people act like they don't take an active role in their kid's lives. I certainly didn't mean anything negative by the post, but I am glad to get the topic of "who should be getting up with the kids" on the table. It sounds trivial, but it can become a big deal in a household!

Here's what the offended father wrote:

"Your January 3rd "Welcome" post has me a bit concerned. You see, I'm the one that gets up with Tommy everyday. He comes to my side of the bed first because he knows it's time for "Daddy Breakfast" when he wake sup in the morning. Every weekday I get up early so I am out of the shower in time to get him dressed and fed, and then I take him to preschool. On the weekends, I get up with him so my wife can sleep as long as she wants - even if that means noon or later.

I know you didn't mean any harm by your post, and I concede that in most cases, your scenario is right and it's the Mom doing most, if not all of the work. But it isn't true all the time. More and more Dads are increasingly active in traditional "Mom" roles. We kiss boo-boos, we change diapers, we bring treats for class parties, we know all the words to the songs on the Curious George CD, and all the names of Thomas' engine friends. That doesn't even begin to address the small but growing number of stay at home Dads."


I wrote the blog about moms and stereotypical Mr.Moms as tongue and cheek, but it is a good issue to discuss seriously.

Who gets up with the kids in your house? What scenario would be fair to both parents? Is it ever fair for the mom to be the only one who gets up with the kids in the middle of the night or in the morning?

I have to give my husband credit. He is a great dad. Yes, he is a deep sleeper, but if I wake him up, he always takes his turn with a crying child. Here's a picture of him spending 5 hours putting a toy kitchen together this Christmas. He works a lot of hours, but always makes time for his boys.

There are so many different roles a father can take. It seems to me, it's up to each individual family to determine what works best for them. My hope is that just bringing up this issue will help make your family dynamic a little stronger.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen


Tim McGinnis said...

Should I start "Newsanchordad.com"???

Jennifer said...

My hsuband is involved, too, and when our kids were babies he often got up in the night and always gave them their baths, so I could have a few moments to myself in the evening.
However, I must say, that if we are both home and the kids want/need anything they always come to me. (Hmmm... maybe I'm a push over? But it seems like they are more concerned about disturbing their father than me...)

jimmy the pink said...

I've always been the one to entertain the kids, take them hiking, teach them work ethics.

Kids need a father to be present, teaching, joking, helping, inspiring, and understanding.

I never talk baby talk, not even to tiny babies. By treating children with respect, and whenever possible, speaking to them as equals, they learn dignity and self-assertion.

They love it when adults act silly, tell funny jokes, and make learning a fun event, rather than a chore.

Ask them questions to help them exercise their mind and express themselves.

Don't make fun or tease them.

Treat them like the Future, which they are.

jmorales0917 said...

Great topic! I am mostly the caregiver of our 8 year old. I have started doling out more responsibility to my daughter AND husband.

She helps more around the house and hubby in in charge of checking homework and wheatever else comes up that he is perfectly capable to do!

Jenny said...

Excellent topic! I'm currently home on maternity leave so general night duty is falling on me, but when I return to work we put into effect our previous plan of baby feeding duties fall to me during the week while the 2 year old falls to the dad. On weekends, we alternate mornings. I get up with the kids (no matter what the time) on Saturday and the husband gets Sundays. Neither of us get to sleep too long however since I go grocery shopping every other Saturday morning and we go to church services on Sundays. But, it is important that this be a team effort!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to hear how it should work. I'm imagining that your husband has a day job that balances your evening job. Maybe the kids come to your bedside every morning because they were bathed and fed and put to bed every night by dad and they have learned that they go to bed with daddy and wake up excited to see mommy? My husband and I tag teamed for years when the girls were young in order to save on day care costs. I worked nights so I could stay home as long as possible and attend play groups and other daytime activities, but when I went to work at night my husband was full time "Mr. Mom" and did a great job. I'm not sure you are giving your husband enough credit. He doesn't look too happy assembling the kitchen set. After our girls went to school and I switched to days my husband and I went through a rough bump getting to know each other again. Give him credit where credit is due.

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