My husband, Mike, is a loving, attentive and tender father to our two daughters, Ava (8) and Rhys (4). One of his most endearing qualities (and the one I’d most like to learn from) is his ability to stop and enjoy the moments. He’s able to ignore the dishes and the messes to run outside with the girls and stare at the moon. They dance and laugh and tell stories about what they’ll find on the moon when they visit it one day. Amazing.
When I asked our daughters how they would describe their dad, they both immediately replied, “Fun!” I describe him as playful, patient and generous with his time, affirmations and hugs.
And he’s not a saint. He’s a real dad. Inconsistent? Of course. Imperfect? Absolutely. And he brings joy and fun and richness to our lives unlike anything we would experience without him
In many ways, our parenting styles are similar. In other ways, we’re the embodiment of the saying “opposites attract.” While at times I bristle at our differences, in honor of Father’s Day, I’d like to celebrate a few of the many lessons my partner teaches me about parenting simply by being himself:
- I see a clean playroom and want to discourage the girls from ever taking another toy out of a cabinet (let’s be clear, girls, the toys are for looking, not touching).
- Mike eagerly builds forts, towers, castles and doll houses, spending hours constructing
a messelaborate structures to the delight of our daughters.
- Lesson: Fun is messy. Hire a babysitter who loves to clean up and organize.
- I think it’s too much work hauling all our bikes out of the basement, loading and securing them to the top of our car, and driving thirty miles to a scenic bike path for what turns out to be a 15 minute bike ride with two
whining appreciativesmall kids.
- Mike willingly loads and unloads our family and sees it as an adventure.
- Lesson: Find out what happy drugs Mike is taking and ingest a double dose.
- I get itchy and sleepy (and Grumpy & Doc) after ten minutes of pretend play.
- Mike willingly sits on the floor and plays Polly Pockets with the girls for an undetermined amount of time (undetermined because unlike me he doesn’t look at the clock every five minutes). And he appears to enjoy it.
- Lesson: Remind the girls how much it means to their dad when they ask him to play dolls with them. Encourage them to ask him more often. Enjoy the free time!
- I would be perfectly happy at home with a video on family nights.
- Mike prefers to take us on adventures – running around the football field at a nearby high school, driving around town trying out new parks and playgrounds, kayaking in the Chicago river.
- Lesson: Borrow some of Mike’s enthusiasm and pack a snack. Or rent better videos.
- I believe that pulling out boxes of cereal, milk and fruit constitutes making breakfast.
- Mike makes pancakes with the girls every weekend and doesn’t bat an eye at the mess. He also usually cleans up after.
- Lesson: Consider pulling out boxes of cereal, milk and fruit for lunch and dinner also and see what Mike cooks up.
- I hate making mistakes and tend to be hard on myself and others.
- Mike encourages mistakes to the point of encouraging the girls to promise to make at least one mistake a day. When they do, he reminds them to celebrate.
- Lesson: Jeez, let go and enjoy this man already. He’s a keeper!
While to us my husband is unique, apparently I’m not alone in learning valuable parenting lessons from my partner. In honor of Father’s Day, I asked some friends the following question on Facebook and Twitter:
What makes your husband/partner a good parent? What have you learned from him about parenting?
I hope you enjoy their answers as much as I did:
Tara from http://www.feelslikehomeblog.com
Time. I read once that the best gift you can give to a child is undivided attention, and I think it’s true. My husband spends a whole lot of time with our daughters, and he tries really hard to be open and willing to do whatever they want to do with him.
My husband is the fun one! He is always ready to swim, throw the ball, play UNO, or wrestle with the kids. I’m trying to learn to forget about all “the stuff” that keeps me busy (dishes/laundry) and be a little more spontaneous and present like him.
Sarah from http://www.thereshegoes.org
My husband has all the patience! I see him, daily, show our 2.5yr old how to do all sorts of things and he never gets tired of explaining, showing, guiding, and loving. I adore it when he lets her “fix” things with him even though she mostly loses all his tools and tiny spare parts that he sets down!
Mindi from http://stavishclan.com/
My husband is super attentive to the boys when it comes to their toys. He is always shopping for new ones, building transformers and legos and finding them the latest superhero masks. Oh and he keeps track of all the little parts to their toys. He also loves finding them great books.
Megan from http://www.megsamommy.com/
I have learned that my husband has the patience of a SAINT. And, I am glad too, because in some cases I do not!
Demetra from http://threegirlsandaminivan.com/
My husband passed away in 2009 but even though our daughters were very young they still have memories of him swimming with them, dancing with them, letting them help him cook, they remember he was silly…so yeah I would say a willingness to spend time and have fun…it has created lasting memories for the girls.
Christie from http://www.outlawmama.com
My husband taught me to say no.
Lisa from Facebook
My husband doesn’t get his butt puckered over bedtime, consequences, or high-fructose corn syrup. He reminds me that our reasonable best is more than enough to raise wonderful kids.
Happy Father’s Day, Mike! We love you! And Happy Father’s Day to all the dads who make parenting look easy and who generously share their hearts, strength and wisdom with their families.
I’d love to hear your responses to the same question: What makes your husband/partner a good parent? What have you learned from him about parenting?