DADS DON’T BABYSIT.
IT’S CALLED PARENTING
By Libby Hudson Lydecker
“A modern more evolved dad needs to see that the children are equally his and that co-parenting does not just mean stepping in like a babysitter when mom cannot.”
Parenting a toddler is one of the most difficult hurdles in humility and patience for many new parents. Suddenly you feel under the rule of a little tyrant with unreasonable demands and ever increasingly difficult methods of manipulation. You are now in charge of a little person who is no longer the docile infant who slept on and off throughout the day. Your toddler is becoming an active person and that person has very clear wants. Many moms feel the brunt of the burden of the caretaking in the first year to fall mostly on their shoulders due to breast-feeding needs. But the toddler years are the time that Dad can step in much more and actively co-parent.
Regardless of your work situation, being a parent in our modern society is not a one-person job. The household maintenance is one thing if the husband is covering the financial aspects of the family. But the reality is, it is a very outdated 1950’s model that the mother is the primary parent. A modern more evolved dad needs to see that the children are equally his and that co-parenting does not just mean stepping in like a babysitter, when mom cannot.
For a dad to be a truly equal co-parent might be very difficult due to restraints of time and hours of the day when he may not be there. This is also very true for full time working moms. All the more reason for when it is home time, phones should be off and both parents can share in the care, the feeding the disciplining, the hostage negotiations of bedtimes etc. If Dad is away all day and mom is doing this job solo, all the more reason why she needs to tap out at the end of a long day at home with a toddler. Yes, working outside the home is hard, but I’ve had friends who swear heading to their office after handing their kids over to a nanny felt like a vacation.
It is a privilege when we as parents can be there for our own children. More and more due to financial strains, many parents must delegate this work to a caretaker, nanny or other family member. It is important for dads to feel included in necessary in the process of raising their children. And to this end we must empower them to do so. In doing this there are a few things to remember.
1- Praise works wonders over criticism. When Dad does something well, the more you compliment the more likely it will become a habit.
2- Accept he will not do it exactly the way you do it. If we truly want co-parenting, we must allow for differences in opinion and methodology.
3- Give Dad time alone with kids. Positive bonding activities between dad and his kids help strengthen his confidence in his connection with the kids.
An attitude of gratitude that we have men who want to participate in being active and conscious dads is a true blessing.