If I'm going to write a post about dads, then I HAVE to start off with an excerpt (from the many pages I have in my head) about my father.
My father was the strongest presence in my life...no...not was...still is. He was not only there for the fatherly stuff - playing games, having fun and buying me things, he was also there for the serious everyday - putting me to bed, waking me up, getting my lunch ready for school, helping me with homework and providing emotional and moral support - stuff. He was always there for my mom too. He cooked breakfast on a regular basis, cleaned up the house after he came back from the office and never complained. NEVER EVER complained about how much work he was doing. NEVER EVER said "I make the money" or "I'm the one who works my a$$ off to earn a living, I can't come home and do chores too!" NEVER EVER. Can you imagine? Working, volunteering (yes, I remember him helping out at a old age home for 2 years when I was, I think, 10-11), doing house work and taking care of and loving three daughters? I'm not saying he was perfect...he had his flaws like any human. He was overprotective, stubborn, had a fierce temper (if you got him mad...you had to be afraid) to name some. But for every flaw, he had 10 times as many qualities. You can only imagine that having him as my father, set the standards really really high for my child's father.
Not all (i.e many) fathers are so attentive to their children. Most father/husbands aren't equal partners in the job that is parenting. I'm talking about the dads who feel they don't need to consistently be there to help raise their kids or create a peaceful 'home'. They all think that the mother is the single most important thing in a baby's life - the one who has to do everything for the baby, but they fail to realize that they also play important roles in the upbringing of their children. I mean, haven't we as mothers done enough to make you realize we would love for you to be more involved? Just because we were blessed to be mothers doesn't mean you can't take part in household chores (this is probably not applicable to dads in Bangladesh, because many have house maids to help with that), change diapers, give baths, help your child go to sleep and/or feed them (i.e once a child is either taking a bottle or solid foods). Just because you go to work and make money, doesn't give you the excuse to be absent in child rearing. Most mothers who have to go out and earn a living and make a career still have to come home and do ALL the mommy/wifey tasks waiting for them. I don't see why dads feel they are exempt from sharing such tasks with their wives. For all you dads out there - how you interact with your children and wife, how you behave when you are around the house and how present you are in the minute daily activities of your childrens' lives WILL (NO DOUBT) influence your child's personality, views and behaviors. So why not set a good example? When you're gone, do you want your child to remember you are just the guy went to work and made money, who came home from work and had few chats and games with the kids? Or the guy who was always there for you when you needed them, the guy who was just as much a parent as their mother and the guy who was a wonderful husband as well? Now that my father is gone, I don't remember him as a strict authoritative figure but as a parent who helped shape my life with all his small constant acts of love.
It is really very easy to come home and sit on the couch and watch a hockey game. Or play video games and battle it out with your buddies. But then you're missing out on all those moments you could have spent loving your child, teaching them something new or just making them laugh. I'm not saying give up all the things you love. But seriously...some of you need to grow up! You're grown men now, with a wife and kids. Your priorities NEED to change - Sure, watch your game...but don't do it every night and let you kid just play by themselves; if you must watch your games, don't tell the wife to take the child of your hands..instead involve them in the game, teach them what's going on. When you're out with the wife and kids, don't assume you don't have to do anything but drive them there. Hold your child and give the mommy a break or at least till she has had something to eat herself. Help feed your child and take turns taking them to the washroom to pee/change diapers. I'm not suggesting you figure our a way to carry a child in your body or produce milk or spend every minute with your child...just try to be a father and husband more minutes out of your day. Also - dads, did you know that it is scientifically proven that women (most women) find men who love children more appealing and watching a father interacting with a child or caring for a child is extremely attractive to us females?
Y'all have probably started thinking I'm ranting about my own baby daddy...Well I'm not. I got lucky with Sunvi. He is a great dad/husband and we have as close to an equal-parenting partnership as one could. He always helps me with EVERYTHING - from playing with Arissa, changing her diapers, giving her a bath EVERY night, putting her to sleep, to now feeding her solids and washings her bowls and spoons. I adore him for the father he is becoming and Arissa adores him more. She would rather spend time with him more than anyone else. When we are out, he never complains about how much he has to hold her (I have weak biceps :p) and he never suggests leaving her home because he would rather have the freedom of not having to look after her while we are out. Sometimes, he even wishes he could claim the title of 'most important parent' (we all know mommy is still #1). I'm not saying he is perfect, he will still do the occasional whining about being tired or not getting enough sleep but I'm not a perfect parent either (although I really wish I could be). Sunvi loves being a dad and spending quality time with Arissa and I. And he chooses to be this way. Seriously, what more could a mother ask for from The Other Parent?