What kind of a dad to you want for your kids?
I've been thinking about that lately because I have a column due today for the Canadian Promise Keepers magazine on just that subject.
I asked a ton of women that question, and they all gave answers you would expect: he should put in the time; he should do the work of parenting; he should be a spiritual leader; he should be tender.
But after talking about it more, we all came back to this point: he shouldn't leave the parenting to me.
The women I talked to said that men often came in two extremes: the authoritarian dad who stormed in and left little children in their wake, or the passive dad who just wasn't that involved. And when women have a husband who isn't that involved, women overcompensate. We take over more and more of the parenting responsibilities and decision-making, until we're doing the whole thing. And then it's even harder for them to get involved, because we're already doing everything and crowding them out.
What we want is a man who won't accept that. Who will fight to be involved with the kids, and who will challenge us if we're wrong. We want a man who isn't afraid to stand up to us and stand up for the kids. Who has an opinion on the kids because he thinks about it and cares about it. We don't actually want all the responsibility.
Raising kids is really hard. There's a lot of guilt that goes into it for a woman. And if we have all the parenting placed on us, that guilt is compounded, plus we feel like our husbands don't understand.
So we don't just want a man who will occasionally read to the kids or play catch with them. We want a man who really will share the decision-making and parenting so we're not left holding the ball. We'll take the ball if it's thrown at us, but we don't really want it.
What do you think?
Labels: fathers, parenting