Where parents do too much for their children, the children will not do much for themselves – Elbert Hubbard
Single dads are a growing phenomena in the United States. Co-parenting was a buzzword 10 years ago but is now the norm. Dads are spending triple the time they did with their kids compared to 50 years ago yet over two thirds of dads reflect that they do not spend enough time with their children.
Even though the numbers depict that more dads play an active role in parenting, society is slow to catch up. Some folks, I feel, overreact when they read about or see pictures of dads cradling their children or spending time with them. I mean, moms don’t get applause if they were photographed skillfully or unskilfully handling diaper poo. Dads do because society as a whole do not expect men to handle the routine stuff.
Food for thought: Dads and moms should equally photograph the other half spending time with their kid(s).
I believe some dads are truly awesome because of their mindsets that guide them towards sustainable co-parenting. We’re not talking about just the one-off Instagram post but the many snapshots of parenting added up over time that reflects a truly remarkable dad.
I have observed through going out (I do go out out, to places of higher tantrum thresholds) and hanging out with friends and buddies on social media, a multitude of ways that dads parent well. You’ll know moms would have approved or would approve if these showed up in Twitter.
These are my personal favourite ways that dads are helping moms. I mean, nurturing their kids 🙂
Dads aim for laughs
Moms are funny. But dads are a different sort of funny. They tend to be less structured and more footloose, characteristics that moms love to hate, and therefore fun.
Just as it’s important for moms to be the one who has her finger on everything – someone has to do the work – dad adds charm and humor to the general mood.
Dads crack the children up as well as the mom, so both don’t carried away down a one way street of discipline and learning without the laughs.
Secret: Kids really learn much better if the teachings were packaged in laughter
It’s really difficult for single dads or single moms because single parents bear all the work and the burden of child raising, likely choosing function over fun because they have no energy to be funny by the time they go through the daily rituals of parenthood.
I would encourage all parents and especially single parents to go on Twitter to have a few laughs every other day! Parents on Twitter are truly amazing fun and once you find them under hashtags #momlife #dadlife or #parenting to start with, you’ll be hooked. I genuinely believe being a Twitter mom has helped me become a better mom and a more appreciative wife. So please go there if you have not.
Dads don’t sweat the small stuff
Unless they’re down with the man flu men generally don’t sweat the small stuff and that’s a great perspective that children should aim to have while also carrying out mom’s wishes.
Generally for parents in a partnership, one parent doesn’t fuss over details while the other parent tends to take up the role inculcating a sense of duty in the children.
Living and being immersed in both perspectives helps to balance the children’s mindsets so they they don’t end up being overly OCD (having an obsessive compulsive disorder) or being too much of a perfectionist, or completely foolhardy with no desire to take up any responsibility. I think we can all agree that any type of extreme character helps no one.
Dads give not-mom perspectives
This may be a little tricky to explain without offending anyone so I’ll give it my best shot and state for the record, that I’m almost a single mom myself (until recently) so I deeply appreciate the struggles of every mom or single dad.
I believe both parents have value to add to conversations with the kids. It could be simple questions such as “why does mom do it this way” versus “why does dad do it this way”, that allows the kids to develop an innate creativity for every problem they meet later in life. There can be more ways to approach a problem.
Children will also learn that there are different viewpoints and different personalities and these may even help them shape out what theirs is.
Dads teach practical skills
Dads greatly believe in the capabilities of their children, sometimes to the point of being oblivious that their kids had not learnt to walk yet they want to bring them hiking. I can see moms delighting in the idea of some me-time one delicious afternoon (but of course their partners aren’t confident they can handle the kid past the first 30 minutes and want them to come along).
Moms can have a catnap when dads are wrestling with their kids, bringing kids on a tour of their garage or showing off their toolbox. Moms can write a blog or clean the house when dads and kids play football or run to the shops. Moms can disengage or secretly listen in when dads teach their kids how to code a game or how to invest.
Moms teach kids loads of practical skills everyday of course, but dads gotta be left to do the dad thing with the kids.
Dads put family first
I’ve observed this in many Gen Y and millennial co-parenting families and of course with single dads. Dads who place family first are often the happiest and the best performers at work. Dads are just as likely as moms to say that parenting is extremely important to their identity and involved dads often develop skills and traits that make them better employees.
By placing families first, dads subconsciously and innately desire to be more effective and efficient in order to firstly excel in their work, and secondly to finish work at a productive pace so as to spend more time with their kids.
In addition, knowing that they have the best person on earth caring for the kids and the needs of the household, dads can sprint in the workplace with no worries. They are uninhibited and focused on ascending the corporate ladder, an action that consequently further reinforces the level of happiness within the family.
Dads tell the kids to listen to mom
I had to include this but what I really mean, is that dads get the kids to listen to mom, or vice versa.
Dads can be the greatest advocate of moms and likewise. If both authority figures lead into the same direction, children clearly know where they’re headed.
I feel that single parents have the toughest job because they have to play both roles and as such, have to work doubly hard. Thankfully or not, single parents have their communities to reach out to for practical help such as watching the baby or parenting advice.
While this article salutes dads for their brilliance in parenting, it is my deepest wish to spend a lot of time with single parents to better understand their struggles and learn how they overcome the challenges that they face each day.