I’m not a Dad, but I am a Mom with a husband who qualifies for GREATEST DAD EVER status.
As a working Mom, a wife, a partner, I can’t sing the GREATEST DAD praise enough. And I know my son, Sloan, age 2, agrees with me. At least that’s what it feels like when he gets so excited when Daddy gives him a horsy ride before he leaves for work. Or when he runs to the front door, arms flailing, to give Daddy a big, big huggie as he comes home after a long day.
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I’ve often thought about my son’s relationship with his Daddy. I know it’s a special one. Sure, they might look like mini-me twins, and I’m only slightly jealous about that. But my son has a strong Father-figure in his life: one who’s been there as often as he is physically able, one who listens to his son babble about the groceries he’s going to buy during his imaginary journey, one who offers guidance while building the tallest Lego tower knowing it will be knocked down the second it’s erected, one who plays “Who Let the Dogs Out” on repeat although he’s secretly ready to rip his hair out (but has a dance party in the living room anyway).
He’s a Daddy who is engaged with his son. He is present.
We live in an age where screens capture most of our attention most of the time. Technology is integrated in the fabric of today’s modern family. I’m quite guilty of getting sucked in myself. Ironically enough, my husband even works in tech so screens and technology are an even bigger aspect of his world than most.
But I applaud my husband. He’s made a conscious decision to put it all down and come home early a few nights a week. It’s not an easy physical action, and sometimes his work continues late into the night after he’s put Sloan to sleep. But my husband made a personal choice to speak with his boss, block off his calendar so nothing can be scheduled late those days, and he rushes from work to catch the train. He does this to be home, to have invaluable one-on-one quality time with our son.
We are both so busy with work, starting a small business, our home, our extended family, our friends, life really. And I’m sure nearly everyone can relate in this fast paced world. But there’s little that compares with carving out time to be home for dinner, teaching Sloan how to spell his name with foam letters on the bathtub wall, reading stories, making up silly songs and snuggling with the little guy.
My husband’s commitment to be present isn’t just for my son’s sake. It’s a living example of his love for me, his partner, his wife, his spouse, his significant other. Words can’t describe how it makes me feel to know my husband sees the importance in being present for our son, but he is also present for me while acknowledging his role as my equal partner. He understands it’s not up to me to do the parenting alone. I also have a career, a small business, an independent life, too. I need time. I need “me” time. I also need down time.
I’ll share a little secret with you: we call ourselves Team Bring It. We’ve done so since we were dating. We even had matching jumpsuits with Team Bring It embroidered on the back. Yep, we are total dorks in wigs and matching outfits. But it’s our uniform for life. As partners and parents we are a team. And we want to be present, to BRING IT and all the positive value that IT may have for our son, one another, our family, our community, our world.
We surely aren’t perfect. Yes, “Greatest Dad Ever” has his own set of flaws just as I do. Every day we learn a bit more about how to be good people, good parents, good partners, what our child needs to thrive, what it means to be present. But we are trying. And that’s my point.
I’m quite lucky. My husband gets it, the value in this entire process, and he expresses this knowledge by being present for us, the family unit.