This could be one of the most painful blog posts I’ve ever written… You see the thing is, my husband is actually a really good parent and in many ways he’s better at it than me. (Obviously that’s because I do all of the worrying and the stressing for him), but the truth is he is one of the best fathers I’ve ever met and I genuinely mean that. So, as it’s father’s day today I thought I would write something positive about the man I’m proud to call my husband.
It all started way back in 2008 with the arrival of our first born. I was quite worried at how my laid back, almost horizontal husband would cope with the invasion of his home by a small, screeching, non-laid-back, pooping machine and a delirious wife who had just produced this new lodger. He had no experience of babies and small children whatsoever.
As a new mum, we all know that advice is hurled at you from all directions, but there was one piece of advice that I believe was truly the making of my husband and also gave me the confidence to let go of the reins and hand them to him. A friend of mine from work said “When your baby is a few days old, give him to your husband and go out.” That thought was utterly terrifying as a new mum of a 5lb 13oz baby, but on day three, when we needed some supplies from Mothercare, I volunteered to go and I left them to get on with it.
I can remember driving away from my house full of worry. I can remember walking around Mothercare in a daze, shaking and wondering what they were up to. The “what if’s” started creeping in. “What if the baby is crying uncontrollably?” “What if he’s hungry?” “What if my husband put the baby in the wrong position in the Moses basket?” All of those fears were buzzing around my head. So I grabbed what I needed, sprinted back to the car and drove home where I found the pair of them chilling on the sofa watching TV without a care in the world.
From that day I knew that my husband was just as capable as me at this child rearing malarkey and now we pretty much do 50/50. So three children in, we have got this. He has got this. He is hands on, he’s changing nappies, he’s sicked on, he’s up in the night, he’s Geo-caching, he’s Pokémon hunting, he’s dressed as a fairy whilst playing Barbie’s, he’s reading bedtime stories, the children think he’s the best thing ever and I think he’s pretty ‘alright’ too!
He’s actually more than ‘alright’, he’s brilliant, and here are 5 things that my husband does better than me:
Risk taking: Anyone who knows me will know that I am the most risk averse person on the planet. I can risk assess a glass of water as if it were a ticking bomb! Therefore, whenever the children are doing something vaguely risky like building campfires, learning how to use knives, climbing trees or dangling upside down from a climbing frame, my husband is in charge. He has to be, I can’t look!
Being in the moment: Forget about the washing, forget that it’s almost dinner time and you don’t know what you’ve got in the cupboard. Don’t worry about it. I don’t know how he does it, but my husband can get lost in the moment with the children for hours. They play, they go on walks, they almost get eaten by dragons as they run from the mist that’s rolling along the valley behind out house. They don’t eat, apart from the raisins they’ve packed in their magic bags, they are filthy dirty, but they are totally happy with their Dad.
Being on time: Aughhhh. I hate confessing this one, because the reason my husband is always on time with the children is because he only does the jobs necessary to leave the house. When I’m in charge I like to get the washing up done, put some laundry in the machine, (maybe hang it out to dry), have a shower, look like I’ve put some effort into whatever I’m wearing and remember all of the things that we need to take with us.
My husband, however, gets up washed and dressed. Feeds and dresses the children and goes. The house is a tip, they’ve all forgotten things that they will probably need (like nappies), but they are always ON TIME!
Keeping calm: As a mum I find keeping an air of calm serenity somewhat of a challenge at times. It’s in my nature to think of worse case scenarios, perhaps it’s an instinctive survival thing? Whatever it is, my husband is the opposite. He remains calm at all times. I have NEVER in 17 years seen him even slightly flustered. When the children are ill, when heads have been glued back together, when “the baby is coming NOW!” he’s completely calm. I actually don’t know how he does it. We live in the same house, with the same children, doing the same things day in day out and yet he comes out of it like Snow White and I come out of it like Marge Simpson!
Having fun: As a result of his laid back nature and calmness, and the fact that he is actually a big child (although so am I), he does seem to have more fun as a parent than I do. It’s like he’s reliving his childhood. He buys toys, which he claims are for the children, but I don’t know any child who needs a £500 remote control car! He plays Nerf wars with much more gusto than me, he builds dens in the woods to play in with the children, he makes popcorn machines with a drinks can and a candle and he watches 3D films at the cinema with our eldest. He has fun with a capital F. That’s not to say that I don’t have fun, because I absolutely do, (give me some glitter and a pot of PVA glue and I’m happy!) It’s just that he seems to do “fun” ever so slightly better.
So to all you dad’s out there who are muddling your way through this parenting minefield like everyone else I just wanted to say Happy Father’s Day. We don’t tell you often enough, but us mums know that “you’ve got this” and secretly we know that there are some things you do better than us!