Hubby and I went out for dinner this week with another couple who are also heavily pregnant with their second child. My hubby asked our friend how tired she was with her second pregnancy compared to her first.
Her husband responded with, “I’m glad you asked… I’ve been soo tired”.
I had to laugh.
My husband than chirps up with, “Lauren’s been sick with the flu for three weeks but no one has asked how I have been coping with it”.
As we come to yet another Father’s Day, the third for our family, this conversation with our friends has had me reflecting on just how much the men our children call ‘daddy’, do to support our families.
When it comes to kids and parenting, so much attention is given to the mum’s. Which I’m not disputing is vitally important and appropriate – I mean we are the ones who lug around a growing baby for nine months, go through excruciating labour pains, have identity crises when we eventually have children, have our career’s put on hold, and when we finally go back to work, experience a tremendous amount of mummy guilt.
Yet, not enough attention is given to the dads.
What I think people tend to forget is that the men our children love to wrestle with, go through these experiences too.
Take my husband for example:
He was the one who patiently coped the hormonal, crazy eating, random vomit cleaning and sleepless night pregnancy as well as me.
He was the one who admittedly didn’t go through excruciating labour but he did helplessly watch me, the love of his life (right, hunny?), go through that pain and not be able to do a damn thing about it.
He was the one who also had the identity crisis by not being able to socialise or exercise as much as he used to. He is the one who currently has less ‘me’ time than… well… me!
His career, or at least his reliability as a worker, has also been affected – he is equally on carer’s leave when our son is sick as much as I am, if not more.
And he also suffered, and still does suffer, from a tremendous amount of
mummy daddy guilt. He was the one who had to go back to work after four weeks paternity leave (which he is lucky to get in the first place) and leave his newborn at home with his still recovering mummy. I had twelve months off! I’m not sure he has commuted so fast after work to get home to his family than in those first few months after we had our baby, and he was always utterly devastated if bub was already asleep for the night.
And lastly, when I was more sick than I have ever been in my entire life (FACT!) with the flu this winter, the parent my child prefers to play at the park with, was up during the night tending to our son, up with him for breakfast at 6am, going to work, cooking dinner, and cleaning the house, while I coughed up a lung in the death chamber that was our bedroom.
Yet, he is the one who is asked by others whether he is on baby sitting duty!
He is the one who others expect to go to work when our son is sick rather then care for at home!
He is the one who other’s think he has to be asked to do chores, get up for the baby, or cook dinner!
Quite the opposite is true for every one of these examples.
So this year, I am celebrating Father’s Day by appreciating everything my husband does for our family. The man that my son calls “daddy”. The man my child loves to wrestle with. The parent my son prefers to go to the park with. And the man our family loves.
Thank you Daddy, and thank you to all the other dads out there who support their families in whichever way they can.
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