‘First-time Mom’ – Backseat Dads
As a follow-up on my post last Saturday, here’s one topic from Dr Kevin Leman’s book “First-time Mom” that I’d like to share with you today.
The book recommends this :
Avoid actions that scare husbands away
One of the reasons why many men take a ‘backseat’ when it comes to parenting is : they feel the wives are so competent that they are just not needed.
Another reason: they eventually feel reluctant to help out because they are often instructed by the wives on ‘HOW’ they ‘SHOULD HAVE’ done things.
Like when a dad tries to put on a diaper and the wife laughs and says : ‘Don’t you know how to put on a diaper? You’ve got it backwards!’. Then the wife continues to share his ‘amusing’ diaper episode with her friends.
Some husbands are completely okay with such comments and reactions from the wives, but some may not like them.
They feel the wives are too quick to ridicule, judge and ‘correct’ their way of doing things when it comes to caring for the kids. And as the result, the dads feel discouraged and simply are not interested in helping much anymore.
So. How should the wife approach all this?
Learn to appreciate the husband’s unique role and approach in the child’s life.
Dads may not be as gentle as moms, but that’s okay. In fact, that’s the way it should be.
Babies don’t need daddies to act like mommies or mommies who try to act like daddies. Kids are more ‘durable’ than we often realise.
This, I admit, was one of the things that lead to arguments between Wilson and I, especially in Anya’s earlier years.
I have my own routine and ways of doing things when it comes to caring for the kids. And Wilson naturally has his ways too. And when I insist on how certain things ‘need to be done’, I’m making him feel incompetent. It’s as if ‘my way’ is the ‘only right way’ of accomplishing certain things.
By now, we’ve understood each others’ roles better. We’ve synchronised quite a few parenting approaches too.
And despite Wilson’s long working hours, when he’s with the kids, he helps out and spends lots of time with them (like, getting them ready for bed, washing them up, brushing their teeth, putting on diapers, changing into their pyjamas, reading them books and saying their bedtime prayer together)
Over time, I’ve also learned to just ‘close one eye’ and avoid being too particular over things that are not that critical (which frankly was tougher to do during my earlier years of being a Mom).
And when we disagree about a particular parenting approach, we’d share it with each other and talk about it.
We realise that no parent is perfect, and that we both need to complement each other, and continually grow and be reminded of the many things that need to be changed and improved.
Parenting sure is a continual learning journey for us.