By The Wiz
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…..