I spent last weekend at a blogging conference in Chicago. Although the conference was targeted primarily towards female bloggers, I had the honor of moderating a panel of three male bloggers, two of whom were also dads.
Although they were there to talk about blogging, it was something they said about parenting that I want to share with you.
Dads want to be parents, too.
Dads are parents.
And they consider it just as much a responsibility and a job as mothers do.
The two fathers that I talked to, and a few of the other dads in the audience, told story after story of women who called parenting “their job” and actually resented the father’s “interference”. As one of the women listening, I realized that I, too, tend to take ownership of my children - sometimes to the point that I take it away from my husband.
And then I’m pissed that he doesn’t “get it” the same way I do.
I’m offended that he doesn’t remember doctor’s appointments.
Or the first day of school.
And I completely forget that every single time I “let” him be a father - he steps up to the plate. He reads bedtime stories and gives baths. He attends school plays and picks out birthday presents. He lets small children with sharp elbows and knees crawl all over him, even after a long day of work.
As a working mother, I’m constantly talking to my peers about the importance of a support system and balance. And yet, I easily miss the most important support system right in front of me: the other parent who is just as invested in the health and happiness of my children as I am.
I don’t think all women do this. I’m sure there are many mothers out there who naturally appreciate the role their children’s fathers play in their lives. But my own experiences and the words of these men suggest that at least some of us need to be reminded to back off.
We - or at least I - need to remember that fathers are just as much entitled to the opportunity to parent as mothers are. And if our children are lucky enough to have fathers who relish that opportunity, the best thing we can do for them is step out of the way.
And… I could use a little help with this parenting gig, anyway.