Chad Miller responds to a post that calls dads “babysitters” and shares tips he’s learned along the way.
2013 is being touted as the year of the Dad. We have a steep hill to climb to change an unflattering image, but at the very least, we can start by losing the title of babysitter. After learning of the 10 reasons I, as a Dad, can be referred to as a babysitter, I’m throwing in the challenge flag. Here’s some advice for dads who might fall into that role unexpectedly, but really want to lead their family integrity, vulnerability, and accountability.
1. Arrange for your wife to get out of the house and pamper herself. Slip her some “Jacksons” in her waistband, kiss her on the cheek and whisper in her ear that there’s a glass of wine waiting for her at her favorite mani/pedi shop. Do Not attach strings to this gift.
2. Absolutely, 100% overindulge. Did I say Jacksons above? I meant “Benjamins.”
3. Be willing to play Doctor… and not just between the sheets. Geez! Mom’s got the sniffles? Let her get some rest, take on dinner responsibility, and instruct the kids not to bother Mom. That means, when you see a little human walking towards the closed door of your bedroom, leap the couch and cut them off at the pass.
4. Show her that you don’t need the instruction manual to parent your children. Dad’s, there’s nothing funny about this one. Be present, take notice, and get involved. You don’t get to be tired after work when it comes to being active in the lives of your children. Turn the damn TV off and enjoy the experience of growing your children into incredible, responsible, compassionate, contributing adults.
5. Show no fear. Confidence is cool. Confidence in your parenting is sexy. Keep your house a home when Mom walks out the front door. Your children will have the opportunity to experience frat life all too soon.
6. Did I mention turn off the damn TV? Yep, it’s right there in #4. Seriously, there’s this cool, new invention called DVR. It’s so rad. It records live TV. Yeah, no kidding! You don’t have to worry about your buddies letting you know the score of the game, ’cause you’ll be having a great time with your kids. Then, you can watch the game later without the commercials.
7. Show off your mad storage skills. Let’s face it, the geniuses at the Container Store and Ikea combined can’t hold a candle to a Dads ability to utilize every square inch of the inside of a minivan or crossover SUV when going on a trip with a baby. You really want your wife to think your sexy? Get to work creating organization for the house… then you’ll be familiar with where everything is, and she won’t have to put things out where they can’t be missed. It’s a win-win.
8. Don’t let your kids do stuff you know your wife wouldn’t let them do. Okay, so I agree that the lounge chair makes a great launch pad to catapult to the sofa. Yes, I know the crayon says washable, but we don’t need to allow mini Picasso to create a mural on the entry wall. You have to ask yourself, do you really disrespect your wife so much that you’re willing to teach your kids to do the same? Let that one sink in a sec… yeah, it’s gonna sting a little.
9. Don’t let doing laundry and dishes become an unexpected treat you surprise your wife with. On the other had, ladies, don’t begin to expect it and take it for granted.
10. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
In all seriousness, a marriage and raising kids is a mutual responsibility. There’s nothing a wife desires more than for her husband to lead his family with integrity, vulnerability, and accountability. Active participation and presence are crucial to modeling and influencing your children.
If you ever want to know why your child has become a d-bag as an adult. If you ever want to know why you suddenly don’t have a relationship with your children when they’ve grown and left the house. If you ever want to know why you don’t know the woman you call your wife, look no further than the reflection in the mirror.
Dads, your words and behaviors carry more weight than you will ever know. Be the husband and father that you would want you sons to be and your daughters to marry.