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The Daddy Way

Wrong, or just different?

Lets face it, dads have a different way of doing things than us moms do. They may not do it our way, but does that mean it’s the “wrong way” or just the “Daddy way?”

It depends on who you ask...

Bethany:

My husband has always been a great help with our kids. He has never shied away from changing diapers (even the really stinky ones!), bath time, dressing, feeding, trips to the park alone, you name it. He has his own way of doing things though. Sometimes (ok, a lot of the time) this drives me crazy, but I have to let him figure it out for himself.

In the beginning of this journey we call parenthood, we each had to figure out how to care for this new little person in our family. I had kind of an advantage over my husband since I had been a nanny before becoming a mom. But, I found myself getting frustrated with him at times because he didn’t do things the “right way.” I would tell him how to do things, and then he would in turn get frustrated with me.

Finally, we had a big talk about the frustrations we were both feeling. It hit me that what I was doing made him feel bad and like I didn’t trust him. Wow. I never meant for that. I realized that it was time for me to back off and let him do it his way (wrong or not). He would never do anything dangerous, hurtful, or neglectful regarding our daughter. So, I just had to trust him to take care of her without me watching over him.

After that realization, I had a hard time “biting my tongue,” but it had to be done. We decided since I was doing most of the feeding, he would do bath time and pajama time. It worked out great! He got some bonding time with our daughter, and I got a break.

Nowadays he still does bath time and pajama time (for both kids), and I still get a nice break when he does. He is happy to stay home with the kids and let me have nights out or run errands alone (any mom knows how great that is!), and he never makes me feel guilty about it. The house may be a mess when I get back, he has made some interesting outfit choices before, and they may have had chocolate on their faces, but it is all worth it. I look at the great relationship my kids have with their papa and I realize how important it really is to let them have their own way of doing things.

Nicole:

My husband and I have always discussed how we would parent our children even before we had kids. Of course, these ideals have changed because before you’re a parent you think “well my child would NEVER do that so we don’t have to worry about that”... ha, who were we fooling!

My husband has always been such an amazing provider and the most wonderful father to our children. He is always willing to do whatever it takes to help me. But that’s the catch, to help me. I am with my children 24/7. Being that my husband is the sole provider, I am home with the kids alone most of the time and he is home a couple hours a day. Because of this, he tends to wait for my direction rather than take charge himself.

We’ve talked about this before and he has said it’s because he assumes I have everything under control unless I ask for his help. This can be difficult for me, but I also have to understand he does this because he doesn’t want to step on my toes and because he thinks I’m a great mom. So while I try my hardest to see it as a compliment, it can drive me crazy when I’m in the kitchen getting all our dinners ready, my son is crying, my daughter is making a mess, and my husband is sitting on the couch. Of course he would get up in a heartbeat if I asked him to help me out with something, but it doesn’t occur to him naturally to scope out the situation to see if I might need a hand.

That being said, when my husband does come to my aid he is incredible with the kids. He has so much energy and is always on the floor rolling around with the kids, building legos, playing with matchbox cars. He parents almost the same way I do and tries to instill in them the same values I do in the same way I do. If Evie is acting up and I ask him to put her on a time out he does it the same way I would. He tries the same things I would to get Milo to stop crying during his witching hour. I feel like we’re such a great team even though parenting is probably the most trying thing a couple can go through. No matter how much you’re on the same page, you still end up butting heads at one point or another but it’s amazing when you have a partner you can be honest with and with whom you can communicate easily.

Sometimes for me, as a stay at home mom, it can be hard letting go. I’m with my children all day and have control of every situation, and while daddy totally rocks in his own way, letting go of that control can be difficult. Can someone else possibly do as good of a job with my kids as I do? And the answer is yes, and sometimes an even better job!

Rachael: 

My husband and I have decidedly different ways of parenting; I tend to be more strict with Sabine whereas my husband is very lenient. For instance; I make her say “Please” and “Thank you” and she gets “time outs” for disobeying, whereas he lets her (playfully) smack him in the face. In some aspects, it makes things very difficult for us, but in others, I think it evens us out.

The reason I believe that our styles are so different is because we both play such different roles in her life. I am the constant; I’m always around, and always have been. I’ve seen her at her best and at her worst. I know what she’s capable of and when she’s out of her league. I know when she really needs help, or when she’s jut pushing buttons. But, this is because I spend all my time with her every day.  

My husband on the other hand, only really gets to spend about 45 minutes a day with our daughter due to his work schedule. Because he isn’t allotted much time, it’s difficult for him to be “tough” with her. Why would he want to, this is the only chance he even gets to be with her at all?

I must admit that although my husband’s style isn’t my go-to method of parenting, it can actually be very effective, and has taught me a great deal. He is great at remaining calm and not letting her get to him. He doesn’t yell or get upset, he just sticks to giving her an answer and then immediately re-directing her attention to something else. He’s made me aware that I tend to get too involved in the intricacies and “whys” when I should really just be stating my decisions and then directing Sabine’s attention elsewhere.

As much as I hate to admit that I don’t know everything about parenting my daughter, I’ve been actively working to implement his style a little more in my day-to-day dealings with Sabine. So far, it seems to be working... I might actually become a convert of "The Daddy Way!" Well, at least sometimes. 

Dads have their own way of doing things. It can be frustrating for some and helpful for others, but either way it’s important for kids to have a bond with their dads and this is part of that. Sometimes we as moms just have to step back and let the dads take the reigns for a while. They might even surprise you with how great they are at it.

Don't forget to check out Campbell Patch - Mom Squad on Facebook! We answer your questions, take your suggestions, and offer up support to our fellow Moms.

David and Darlene Steele February 07, 2012 at 12:29 AM
"Biting your tongue" and allowing your partner to be different is the secret to a great relationship. Darlene bites hers all the time, for which I'm grateful! -David/Dad&Stepdad of 5
Bethany Curran February 07, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Have to agree with you guys on that one. Sometimes the best thing you can do or say is nothing ;)

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