Friday, March 18, 2016

Guest post: Stepping into Fatherhood

With this being my blog and about my journey, and my readers are mostly women (even though men have wondered on here every now and then) I obviously focus most of my writing on women and motherhood of course.  But just as things are different for women of today, they're different for men too. Yes, motherhood is hard, but it's not exactly like fatherhood or being a husband is a walk in the park.
 My husband to me is the epitome of the modern day dad. He helps carry the financial weight, but because I have always worked outside the home he also helps carry the household weight. He is the meal preparer, helps with the laundry and cleaning at times, and is definitely the outdoor caretaker. Whereas I get our girls after school he is the one that gets them up, ready, and out the door in the mornings.
 In his current position as a Title I coordinator he often puts on different educational workshops for parents. This past week he spoke at an event called Bagels, Books, and Bowties about the important of fathers' roles in their children's lives today. So the rest of this post is written by him and let's thank all the awesome dads in our lives for all that they do too!

Guest Post By Nathan Glenn"Stepping into Fatherhood"
Being a dad can be tough!    It’s hard… there are a lot of wants and needs… a lot of “dad can I” or "dad will you do..."???

On top of that we are already underestimated as a caregiver to our children.  As a father to daughters I've lost count of the times others are surprised at my ability to do hair, but then occasionally you'll also encounter the woman somewhere trying to be funny and commenting on seeing  you in public with the kids alone with something along the lines of "oh, hanging out with dad today, huh?" as if it's a rarity or you're incapable.  I am quite capable of venturing out with my daughters alone.

I generally laugh it off but if you stop to think about it we are underestimated as a caregiver to our children.  Like we can’t handle it.  Guess what we can and we have to!  It’s not about us taking on traditionally female roles or even about being shamed or the subject of chuckles or jokes in public, it’s about something much more important than that… our kids.

Having a father who is involved in their lives is one of the most important things a child has.  Studies have shown that children whose fathers are highly involved in their children’s lives in a positive way do better in school, have less emotional and psychological problems, do better in the job market, and have less substance abuse issues.

Being there for our kids is more important than any of us realize.  Not only being there as a financial supporter, or a protector, but most importantly, as a role model. 

The relationships we have with our children is going to affect them for the rest of their lives…. the rest of their lives…..  No pressure right!!  The way  they interact with others, including friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, employers, and spouses depends on how they see us, their fathers,  interact with others.

When it comes time for our dear daughters to start dating…. I know a nightmare for all of us right?!!?  They are going to look for men who are like us.  If we are kind, gentle, loving, understanding, and a protector they are going to look for those same characteristics in men.  They have experienced those traits from us their whole lives and it is what they are comfortable with so they will end up with men who exhibit those same traits.

Sons on the other hand will try to be just like us… and some of you already have experienced this. My time is coming shortly.  They will seek our approval in everything they do and copy those behaviors that they see us do.  Again just like girls they have experienced our behaviors their whole lives and are comfortable with them so they will be the ones they exhibit.  If a dad is abusive, controlling, and dominating then our sons will imitate those behaviors.  But if a dad is loving, caring, supportive, protective then these are the characteristics that sons will imitate.  

So what it comes down to is what type of children to we want to raise???  We have a huge impact on how our children turn out, and our interactions, not only with them, but with the others in our lives, including their mothers,  are going to affect them for the rest of their lives.  So we must be aware of ourselves and how we are acting in front of our children.

An alarming fact is that only about 20% of American households are made up of married couples with children and on top of that 60% of households have moms who work just as much if not more that dad.  Dads have had to step up their game and take on more roles that were not traditionally reserved for them in generations past. Helping with laundry, cooking, cleaning, dressing the kids, doing bath time, and fixing hair are just a few of the additional roles dads have been forced to take on… on top of mowing the yard, fixing the car and everything else around the house, going to work… sounds exhausting right?? 

However even with all of these additional roles, the most important thing we can do is be involved in our children’s lives.  Always make time for our children.  Remember that their success depends on it.  We want our children to do well academically, to be emotionally secure, and have less behavior and substance abuse problems.  So that next time that lady at the store makes a statement like “Oh dad dressed the kids today” or “wow hanging out with dad today huh” give them a kind smile and reply “Isn’t it great…  I love taking care of my kids!”

*Statistics provided by HuffPost Parents and Healthy Place:America's Mental Health Channel

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