Dad: Someone to Look Up To

Every single summer, a different worried and envious mom spraying sunscreen at the next patio table expresses the same concern to me: “I saw your husband at the pool alone with your kids yesterday. How do you not worry if he’s actually watching them?! Aren’t you scared to death struggling to focus at work all day? Well, I don’t have to face that because my husband would never do that!”

My husband’s career is in education, so our family gets the unique (and apparently scary) benefit of him caring for our kids in the summer on my office days. In our house, we jokingly refer to it as Daddy Daycare. To be honest, it did really worry me in the early years. Especially the summer when our oldest daughter was 3 and our youngest was 1…and our overly courageous 3-year-old did in fact have to be scooped from the shallow end by an attentive lifeguard.

But instead of focusing on that single instance of Daddy Daycare oversight, which is so easy to do as a mom and probably wouldn’t happened under my watch too, I want to instead highlight the bajillion days my husband has totally rocked being our girls’ dad and summer buddy. As proof: we are two weeks into summer break and don’t you dare think that they want Mommy to do anything with or for them. Daddy is the elected milk pourer, blanket tucker, bedtime story reader, bath giver, dinner date, “suncream” sprayer, sandwich maker, laundry folder, living room wrestler, and perching pillow. I mean, Mama is out of a job this summer because Daddy is home.

As Father’s Day approaches I’d like to encourage all of us to intentionally put those big and little ways that we feel like Daddy doesn’t do it our way—the best way, duh!—and instead give some huge credit to the men who are raising our babies with us. Wouldn’t it be great if the other pool moms would say, “Wow, I bet you and your kids are so glad to have your husband home for the summer!”? Let’s tell the fathers in our life that they’re doing a great job! And get your kids to do the same to celebrate him well for Father’s Day.

 

If you need a little help on how to focus on the good, start here with a few prompts to get you recognizing all the important contributions your kids’ dad makes.

  1. Remember When? What is your earliest memory of your husband showing love to your children? We have the sweetest picture of my husband snuggling our minutes-old firstborn. He had dad loving glowing in his eyes. Use your five senses to describe the scene. Ask your kids the same question: the earliest memory they have with Dad. Have them describe it in words or drawings.
  2. You’re Like…Choose one item to describe Dad. Is he a tree because he’s planted firmly, strong, and gives provision for your family? Saxophone adding music and rhythm to the monotony of regular days? Bicycle taking you on adventures down the winding paths of life? Any object is game! You and your kids decided what the Dad in your family is like. This is a cute and creative way to acknowledge what Dad brings.
  3.  Favorite Fun What is your favorite activity to do as a family, watching your husband enjoy your kids? What is your kid’s favorite activity to do with dad? Name the activity and explain why it means so much.

Pick a prompt. Write it down. Wrap it up. Gift it to Dad this Father’s Day.

And can we as moms just agree to ease up on activing like dads don’t know what they’re doing? Sure it might be different than our motherly ways, but repeat with me: Different doesn’t mean bad. Let’s commit instead to thanking them for their invaluable contribution to our homes and families and letting them Dad hard to the best of their abilities.