Daddy Fix It

So the other night, I was awoken in the night by one of my children. While not unheard of, per se, this is now a relatively rare experience. It was my oldest, explaining that she had a scary dream, and that she needed to snuggle with Daddy because Daddy knows how to make scary dreams go away. ????? Daddy has this skill? He should market it, or something, because when she came in she awoke me out of a scary dream, and I'd been with Daddy all night, and he'd done NOTHING about it! He owes me! He was duly punished the next morning. But why, I wonder, does Daddy get the kudos for the dream-fixing? When Blue Eyes is in our bed, she mauls me just as much (if not more!) I'm the one with her all day, I drive her to her various classes, I gave BIRTH to her, I breastfed her, I changed most of her diapers, and when she's scared, she runs to Daddy? All I can say about that is.....I've done my job well. (insert maniacal laughter here, possibly with a Mr. Burns-esque "excellent.") The best thing to do, ladies, is to make your kids "Daddy's girls" or "Daddy's boys." You will still have to do a lot, if not the bulk of, the work, but in the middle of the night, if either parent will suffice, or better yet, Daddy is preferred, then SCORE! The last thing you want to here is "No, I want Mommy." Because that just does not go away. Of course, if you have power issues with your spouse, or just with people in general, (and you know who you are) you might secretly like it that you're the only that can comfort your child. (Hey, whatever floats your boat.) And of course, during the breastfeeding time, you really ARE the only one that can meet immediate needs. But not every cry is hunger, and sticking a boob in the kid's mouth isn't going to fix everything all the time (even if it does get you out of Sunday School occasionally). So leave the kids with Dad. Often. Constantly. As much as you can. Don't let him refer to watching his own children as "babysitting." It's not "babysitting," it's "parenting." Make him change diapers, put the kids to bed, and just generally be there, as much as scheduling will allow. (I understand when work schedules get in the way, and there is some leeway here.) And when the kids cry because they're hurt or scared, don't rush right over if Daddy is just as close. Let him rush, so they learn that he can comfort just as well, if not better. Both the kids and the dad will benefit. Not to mention Mommy. She might just get time to get a haircut (dare to dream). Hey, he might even develop the skill of making bad dreams disappear. I'm still trying to figure out how to cash in on that one.....


Blogger Laura said...

That was great!

8/03/2005 12:18:00 AM  
Blogger jules said...

I wish my kids would go to dad more often. They will be playing with Daddy then BAM "Mommy, I'm hungry." or "Peeeese change my diapy." I always make them ask Daddy, but that is what it is like for everything.

8/03/2005 12:22:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

I always wake up my husband when I have a bad dream and he makes the scariness go away.

8/03/2005 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger Andrea Wright said...

It's fun to be needed sometimes, but I'm with you -- I LOVE it when they insist on Daddy in the middle of the night.

What bugs me is when I'm disciplining them and they start crying for Daddy. Especially when they've done something that I KNOW would have set him off way more than it did me. Oh well, the grass is always greener on the other side, and they always whichever parent they can't have.

8/03/2005 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger TftCarrie said...

Andrea - My almost 3 year old daughter just started saying to me (while dh was away on a trip) "daddy will be so angry at you" when she gets disciplined. Oh, I hate it!


I totally agree with you. Even though my dh is a NYC lawyer with long hours, when he is around, he does a lot of the parenting. The great thing is, I have done little to create this situation. I think the most important thing is to start out on the right track. When my daughter was born, I did not have my mother come out until a week later. So, the first week was just dh and I trying to figure out the whole parenting thing together. Also, for the first six months of her life, he did the 3am feeding. It was great bonding time for them and let me get much needed sleep.

Finally, I am the last of eight children and was born almost 8 years after my next oldest sister when my mom was 45 years old. She was a very "traditional" mother with all the other children and wouldn't let/didn't expect my dad to help out. She tells me though, by the time I came around, she was so emotionally and physically tired that my dad had to help. I think it was the first time he had ever changed a diaper! Anyway, my mom now notices that my father and I have the closest relationship of any of the kids and she wishes she would have made him parent a little bit earlier.

8/03/2005 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

My mother-in-law has wondered where her sons learned to be such hands-on dads. She was much like Carrie's mom; she did all the work, her husband "provided". My dad, on the other hand, cooked dinner (my mom HATES cooking), changed diapers, took care of the kids so she could have evenings out, and went grocery shopping. So, I came into my marriage expecting my husband to be like my dad. Thankfully, he's lived up to it (and more!). I couldn't imagine doing it all by myself.

8/03/2005 06:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After about 8pm when the going to bed routine begins, my son becomes violently opposed to his father, and insists that Mommy puts on his jammies and reads a story to him. Not my choice, but he is very insistent on this point. On the other hand, I seem to have the sole power to drive monsters out of his room before he goes to sleep. In this area, he simply doesn't seem to trust Mommy's competence.

8/03/2005 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger Andrea Wright said...

Carrie, sounds like you have a fiesty little 3 yr. old. That's hilarious!

8/03/2005 07:24:00 PM  
Anonymous ESO said...

Yes yes yes! Make dad do it. My husband had never even held a baby before we had one and was initially very nervous with our daughter. But he had to start taking over so Mama could go to class 2 evenings a week, and that has done wonders. He feels competant, she knows anyone can help her out in bad times. Works for me.

8/03/2005 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

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8/03/2005 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger 'Thought & Humor' said...

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8/03/2005 09:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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8/03/2005 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger mindy said...

With my daughter (now age 3), DH and I traded off just about every other day from age 6 months to 2 1/2 while we were in graduate school. She recognizes him as a legitimate caregiver in her life, and it has been that way from almost the beginning. My 7 month old son, however, is not convinced that dad is anymore than someone to play with when he's already in a good mood. He doesn't think daddy is a "caregiver". DH has been working long hours since my son was born, so there just isn't the opportunity for him to spend huge amounts of time one-on-one with our son. DH is really sad about it, too, because he loves that our daughter and he are so close. Hopefully work will let up a bit in the future.

8/04/2005 11:14:00 AM  
Anonymous claire said...

I wonder if there is a window in kids lives where Daddy can get in. My kids were cared for almost exclusively by me as babies/young toddlers, but after that he did a lot of putting to bed, taking care of boo-boos, etc. Since they've been in school, they rely on hims so much they often even call me daddy by accident. I guess I'm saying that for our family, we were comfortable with me doing most of the mothering/parenting of small babies, and it hasn't been a long term hindrance on them forming a strong bond with their dad.

8/05/2005 01:16:00 PM  

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