Wednesday, August 1, 2007

WFMW: The Great Parenting Advice Edition

My most important parenting advice for mommas both new and experienced is to encourage the relationship between Daddy and child(ren). Research shows over and over that Daddy is vital in the life of a child. I think we'd all agree with that. A hands-on Daddy is what most of us say we want. But so often we shoot ourselves in the foot when it comes to achieving this goal.

Here is a list of things I've attempted in my four years as a momma to support my husband in his role as Daddy. I hope they are helpful to you.

1. Pump a bottle so Daddy can have one regular feeding every day. I did this with my first child and believe it helped them bond quicker. I'm not a morning person but my husband is so he took the 6 am feeding. This helped me get 6 continuous hours of sleep and gave them special time together.

2. Leave Daddy and baby ALONE at home. I planned my shopping errands for after supper and left baby at home with Daddy. Again, they had bonding time. Daddy became confident in his parenting skills and my son attached to him as much as to me.

3. Make Daddy's coming home THE EVENT of the day. My husband calls before he leaves work. This gives me 15-20 minutes to prepare the children for Daddy. We eagerly check to see if Daddy is home yet or stand at the window watching for Daddy. The boys smile, yell "Daddy" and run for the door to let him in. My husband enjoys this kind of greeting. He feels loved just as much as the boys do. Even my 11 month old daughter is starting to smile and crawl quickly to the door.

4. This is the hard one. Understand that Daddy does things different. That is neither good nor bad. Just different. When I was first pregnant I heard or read that Momma must decide what she really wants when Daddy is involved. Many times I've wanted to step in because my husband wasn't doing something my way. But I try to remember to ask myself, "what do I want?" "I want the baby changed by someone other than me." Does it really matter if he does it slower, plays during the process, or does the task in a different order than I would? NO!!! In the end, baby is changed. Goal is accomplished. This one takes practice. You may even have to leave the room to keep from taking over.

5. Daddy does baths and bedtime around here. At first this took a lot of stepping back on my part. Your husband may not want to do baths. Find that one thing he is willing to do every day. Maybe it's just reading the bedtime story. Or it could be waking everyone up in the morning or setting out breakfast. Ask your husband what he wants his thing with the kids to be. And then learn to let go of your control.

6. Now that my kids are moving out of the baby stage we are adding some new things. Saturday morning is Daddy Time around here. Daddy cooks pancakes, with chocolate chips!, every Saturday morning. I get to stay in bed a little later, the boys get to help Daddy cook, and we all enjoy yummy pancakes.

7. We've also added lunch with Daddy. Ideally we will do this once a month, but right now we are averaging about once a quarter. We pack a lunch and drive to Daddy's office. We all go in and eat in the cafeteria with Daddy and then go upstairs to visit his co-workers and see Daddy's desk. This helps the boys to understand where Daddy is all day and to put faces with names. They have even asked about and drawn pictures for Daddy's boss, Miss Kathy.

8. Daddy calls us every day at lunch time. I put the phone on speaker and we can all talk to him. Sometimes we have something to tell him (we caught a lady bug!) and sometimes we don't. This helps keep us all connected throughout the day.

9. I've trained the boys to ask during supper, "What did you do today, Daddy?" He usually tells them some little snippets. Then they tell him what they've done during the day.

10. Never say anything negative about Daddy to your kids or in front of your kids. Mumbling under your breath also counts! Talking to your girlfriends in person or on the phone counts. Children pick up on things. QUICK! If they hear you speaking without respect then they will speak without respect. Remember, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.


Kathy in WA said...

These are wonderful ideas. I went to a parenting conference last weekend and one thing the wife shared is to work hard to make Daddy look like a hero before the children. She has all sorts of things she's done over the years (8 children). Now that the kids are older, guess who they want to confide and talk to? Their dad. I had never really thought about making a conscience effort to build and boost up my dh in the eyes of my children.


Good discussion.

The Estrogen Files said...

What a great post. This is so not normal for so many people. Thank you for posting what I would never have thought to say! My WFMW is about sun safety.

penguinsandladybugs said...

This is great advice! And very practical tips, too! Thanks for sharing!

Jill said...

Great advice. Daddy does bedtime around here too. It is his special time with the girls. He also takes them on regular daddy-daughter dates. This is soooo important with little girls as he is shaping who they will look for in a future husband. He has set the bar really high!

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