I know my posts are few and far between these days, and it’s not going to get better with all the pulpit supply requests I’ve been getting (it’s summer, and pastors love to go on vacation… go figure!). But I couldn’t let Father’s Day weekend go by without acknowledging the dads out there.
Fathers (especially Black fathers) are often demonized or lampooned in the media, but even in the home they sometimes don’t get the respect they deserve. This post is dedicated to all the wonderful dads who are enthusiastic about fatherhood and try to engage with their children, yet find that Mom is still seen as the go-to parent. A few days ago, all three of us had just gotten home from work and day care. I went upstairs to change out of my stuffy work clothes and to refresh myself. No sooner than I had gotten to the bedroom, our daughter yells loudly from downstairs, “Mommyyyyyyy, I need to go to the bathroom!” She then proceeds to walk upstairs. Now, two things stick out for me in this scenario. Number one, there is a toilet downstairs. In order for you to come upstairs to “use the bathroom,” you would have to pass a perfectly good toilet on the way. Secondly, your father is sitting right there! If you need help, why not ask him for help? This whole situation baffles me because I have yet to understand pre-schooler logic.
This is not the first time she’s done this. She’ll often ask me for something, then when her father volunteers to do it for her, she’ll frown and snap, “No, I want mommy!” It’s frustrating for me, because I know (and appreciate) that he’s just trying to take the load off of me. But I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be for him, too. The man is just trying to do his part, but his own kid won’t let him. I’m sure it hurts his feelings.
Mothers of older children tell me it never ends — not even when they’re in college. And you know, when I think about it, I still do it to my own mother. Even if I have a question for my dad, I’ll call my mom and get her to ask him for me. How ridiculously silly is that? It probably stems from my childhood, when I honestly thought my dad didn’t like me (long story there), so I simply went to the parent who I felt would be happiest to help me. My mom just seemed more engaged than my dad did, so I naturally went to her when I needed anything. That dynamic still exists today, even though my father and I have a wonderful relationship.
It’s for that reason that I resign certain “tasks” solely to my husband. He is the one who will put the baby to bed faithfully every night. Unless he’s not home when it’s time for her to go down, he is the one who takes her upstairs, puts her on the potty, dresses her for bed, leads her in prayer, and tucks her in. And she now knows that she can alway rely on him to do that for her. Whenever we tell her it’s bedtime, she instinctually goes straight to her daddy. I know I’m the “go-to” parent for most things and I probably always will be, but it’s touching to see her lean on him in that way. Hopefully, she’ll know in the future that she can do that for just about everything.
So, here’s to you, dads of the world. Your children may not always appreciate what you’re willing to do for them, but rest assured we mothers do!4 Comments