Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Learning from dad

I am constantly having conversations with moms who feel guilty. Guilty that they didn't spend enough time with one of their children. Guilty that they didn't get the laundry and cooking and cleaning done that day. It truly amazes me that moms constantly judge themselves when, let's face it, moms are accomplishing a crazy amount more than anyone gives them credit for.
But how often do you hear a dad express these same feelings of guilt? Not often. Men are definitely wired differently than women, and there might be a few things that women can learn from them regarding this cloud of guilt. offered these three suggestions:
  • Dads don't try to do it all. Men don't attempt to work full-time, be the primary caregiver to the kids, cook dinner, maintain the home, socialize with their friends and make time for their spouse. They just don't carry those expectations for themselves, plain and simple.
  • Dads don't feel guilty when they take time for themselves. Men seem to constantly be looking for ways to squeeze in a round of golf or a poker night with their buddies. And when these opportunities arise, they don't think twice about having some me-time.
  • Dads don't blame themselves for everything. When his little one hits another kid at playgroup, dad doesn't analyze his parenting and blame himself for this otherwise normal childhood occurrence. 
So how can us moms be more like the dads? Well, try not to check EVERYTHING off your list everyday. Sure, it's important to get things accomplished, but what's the big deal if you leave one or two things unchecked? And indulge in me-time when you have time (and if you don't have time, make time!). The more refreshed you are, the better off you are as a mom. And finally, embrace what are normal childhood situations. Just accept the fact that your child is going to do something embarrassing and outlandish; it's just a fact of life and not a result of your parenting skills.
Don't get me wrong, I do it too. I read a friend's blog or listen to a friend's story, and I think to myself, "ugh - how is she doing it all?" But just when I think I'm less than superior, I check in with my fatherhood-is-treating-me-well-husband and he reminds me that he hasn't picked up a broom in months and that round of golf he played on Saturday felt great. And when I ask him if he feels the slightest bit of guilt when our son has a 45-minute meltdown before bedtime, he gives me this quizzical look and asks, "why would I feel guilty?"

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