…continued from Disrespecting Dads, Part 1
Dads, you’re not idiots; you’re not extraneous. We all need you. Not to be stereotypical men, not to be a new kind of men, but just to be your best selves, engaged with the people in your lives. You may not realize most moms are terrified by the role they find themselves in, figuring it out week by week in community with other moms. We don’t expect one another to have all the answers. It’s OK if you don’t have all the answers either. And it’s OK if you’re sometimes scared witless by the sense of responsibility you feel as a dad. In fact, that can be a very good thing–it shows you’re serious about the job.
So many cultural messages undermine dads’ confidence, suggest they can’t parent correctly, discourage them from even trying because they don’t parent the way moms do. And it’s true, they don’t. Moms and dads complement each other, in ways that are unique to each family. They strengthen each other, work together to cover the bases, and keep each other grounded.
My daughter completed that 5K with both her parents running alongside her. She was too hot, tired, and nervous, and she was pretty sure she couldn’t do it that day. So my husband and I naturally played different roles in helping her get across that finish line. I encouraged her constantly and told her a story I made up for her while she ran–as long as she kept running, the story kept unfolding. My husband ran ahead of her and gently encouraged her to push herself. Together we helped her finish. Would she have kept going without my story? Maybe not. Would she have pushed herself without Dad’s challenge? I doubt it. She needed both of us, as she does every day.
Let’s be kind to dads and help them believe they can be great at what they do. So what if they don’t parent the way mothers do? Isn’t that the point?
© 2012 Amy Simpson.