Editor’s Note: For Father’s Day, we sought assistance from some local and/or out-of-this-world moms. We asked them this: “Some say moms are the No. 1 factor contributing to a dad’s success as a parent? Do you agree? What can moms do to support dads in being the best parents they can be?” The first responses ran Tuesday. Here’s the second and final batch.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
By and large, they are much better at both tolerating mom’s approach to parenting (even if different from their own) and, at the end of the day, knowing what is truly important. But even though dads have this type of confidence, it doesn’t mean they still don’t need to hear what a good job they are doing, or appreciate being asked for parenting advice every now and then. They are pretty good at it, after all!
– Rosie Pope
entrepreneur, Rosie Pope Maternity
TV personality, Bravo’s Pregnant in Heels
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United we parent
Having my husband as a teammate has been invaluable. He would agree that I’m the one who does the most hands-on child-raising, and probably has the most influence over the kids, since I’m physically with the kids more than he is. However, his support has contributed so much to MY success as a parent.
We both contribute to the other’s success in the same way: we support each other’s decisions in front of the kids and present ourselves as a team.
– Amy Oztan
writer, Selfish Mom
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Agreeing to agree, agreeing to disagree
Mothers — I suggest your gift to fathers be “agreeing to agree and agreeing to disagree”.” It’s more valuable, more lasting that anything you might buy.
When our children were young, I, like many moms, was critical of my husband if he didn’t feed or bathe or take care of our children the way I did. I was critical if there were crumbs left on the kitchen counter or their stuff was left littered around. I was the “gatekeeper,” and he began to pull away, not to walk through that gate.
One day we were painting our dining room and he stood over me, giving me lectures about the way I put the brush into the paint can, the way I put the paint on the wall, the way I was handling the drips. And I began to pull away.
In that moment, I realized that this was just what I was doing to him about caring for our children. It didn’t feel good to be the recipient of criticism. I also realized that it wasn’t about wanting to keep him away, but feeling threatened if he did things differently.
On that day years ago, my husband and I decided that we would agree to agree, support each other on the things that mattered most to each of us. For me, that was the way we talked to the children. For him, it was that the food was always healthy. We also agreed that we would agree to disagree. In our case, it was about the crumbs on the counter or their stuff littered about. In fact, our kids could learn to pick their stuff up — and they did. It became a much more peaceful, supportive house because we gave each other this gift!
It isn’t just about gender. I have seen men who take major responsibility for child care criticize their wives for doing things differently, just as women can criticize men.
– Ellen Galinsky
author, Mind in the Making
president, Families and Work Institute
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Let him work his magic
My husband, Jeff, and I have always shared in the care of our children. When my son was very young, I remember coming into our kitchen one morning when my husband was “in charge.” He, a neighbor and my son were all hanging out together. I happened to walk in just as my son fell down and gave himself a big scare.
I could tell from the look on my neighbor’s face that she expected me to swoop in and comfort my son. She even gave me that “bad mom” look when I didn’t. But I knew my son was in good hands. So I took a deep breath and watched my husband work his magic.
Soon my son was feeling better and everyone moved on. I also left patting myself on the back for supporting Jeff to be a great dad and true partner in the care of our family.
Here’s another truth. Even though this feels like it happened yesterday, our children are now 16 and 22! Whether you like it or not, children grow up. But the team work that Jeff and I created while caring for our young ones means our love and closeness has grown every year — and before we know it we will be able to come up with a new plan for work and life as empty nesters.
– Jessica DeGroot
president and founder, ThirdPath Institute
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Don’t underestimate his importance
In my experience, a combination of getting out of the way and providing support is the key. Like women, men learn parenting skills through experience, through trial and error, and through seeing what works.
I also think of this alone time for my husband to be in charge as a gift for my sons to know their dad as well for him to know them.
– Lisa D’Annolfo Levey
consultant; author, The Libra Solution
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Different page, same happily-ever-after
Moms are one factor but not THE No. 1 factor for a dad’s success as parent. Just like all of the things that make moms better moms (confidence, “me” time, work/life balance, support, praise, sleep, etc.) so do all of these contribute to a dad’s success as a parent.
Moms should do everything we ask our partners to do to help us be better moms. We can resist the urge to criticize (and man, we know how hard this is at times!), we can accept that he may have different ways of parenting and that does not mean his ways are worse or not as effective as ours. We can honor that he too is trying his best. That he too may feel overwhelmed. We can remember that even if we’re not always on the same page, we both have the exact same wish – to raise happy, confident and kind children.
– Heather Ouida (left) and Laura Deutsch
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Dads must be involved
I think the No. 1 factor in a dad’s success as a parent is his desire to be actively involved in his children’s lives. Moms come second in that they must recognize and accommodate their partner’s desire.
I was the stay-at-home parent. When our daughter was a toddler I made a conscious effort to give my husband opportunities to be with her — so he could learn about her needs and respond to them — in his own way. Not mine. The best thing we can do for our husbands is to trust them and get out of their way.
– Lisa Duggan, producer
The Modern Village: Continuing Education for Parents
and The Parent du Jour
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While moms are one factor contributing to a dad’s success as a parent, it is also dependent on support from family, fellow dad friends and other moms. It is also depends on dad’s ability to put his heart into whatever he does and know that he did his best.
To support dad:
- Offer positive feedbacks. If dad does something different, but the end result is the same — don’t criticize, praise.
- Lower standards regarding minor stuff, such as washing dishes, taking out the trash, making the bed, etc. Dads will be more willing to help around the house and care for the kids. Moms will be more relax and happier.
- Stop keeping score. It doesn’t matter who put the baby to sleep faster as long as the baby SLEEPS!
- Do not hover. Dads will just become self-conscious about what you expect them to do.
Hmmm … now that I’m reading this, I think I need to put some of my advice to work on myself 🙂
blogger, Petite Brooklyn Mom