I hope you had a chance to read Ryan’s (my fabulous hubby) perspective on being a dad last week and how we can support them. And maybe you even bought his ebook for Father’s Day (although it would make a perfect gift any day- shameless plug).
But I wanted to give you my perspective on how we can help our husband’s be awesome dads (I always get the last word). Let me start off with a story.
When we were first married we were mentored by a British couple who taught marriage preparation at our church. They are the reason we got involved in teaching. It wasn’t a formal mentoring relationship, in fact I don’t even know that they knew they were mentoring us. But we looked up to them and their marriage and soaked up all we could from them about marriage and parenting.
I know we learned a lot of different things in the few years we taught with them, but one story sticks out for me above all the rest. One day the wife, Caroline, was telling me that she had been so frustrated because her kids had been speaking in a disrespectful tone to their dad Keith. It wasn’t a rare occurrence but was becoming the norm and she had been reprimanding them more and more frequently for the way they spoke to their dad.
Exasperated with them she went to her room to pray and to cool down a bit. Then she heard God speak to her loud and clear (well just to be clear, not audibly, but you know what I mean). “The reason your kids speak disrespectful to your husband is because that is how they hear you speak to him.” Bam. Conviction hitting her right between the eyes.
The reason that story is so powerful to me is because it is so very easy to fall into that trap. Many of us are married to men who would be much better dads if we would just get the heck out of the way and let them be good dads. Do they parent exactly like we parent? I hope not. What kid needs two of the exact same parents?
I have often heard people say that God gave you your particular child because you are the best mom for them. That is so comforting to me when I am adding to my children’s future therapy fund certain I am screwing them up. But I hope we remember equally that God very probably gave our kids their dads because they are the perfect dads for them. And the perfect person to balance us as a mom.
I can not recall many times that my husband has told me I have totally messed up as a mom. But I know there are many times I have communicated that to my husband. Maybe not out loud, but in the way I fixed something he did right after he did it or gave him ridiculously specific instructions when he was capable of figuring things out himself.
If we think our kids don’t pick up on our attitude towards our husbands we are being terribly naïve. I often make joking remarks about my husband’s tendency to be overprotective of our kids and one day Lily wanted to do something but said, “well daddy probably won’t let me because you know how he is.” Ouch.
So the best gift you can give your husband for Father’s Day (besides the ebook. Did I mention the ebook?) is some slack. Let him get the kids all hyped up right before bedtime with an epic wrestling match. Let him dress your daughter in a mismatched outfit with wonky pigtails. Just let him be dad without criticism or critique. And then sit back and watch. You might just learn something.