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DH wrote this after listening to me talk about some of the posts I have been reading.  Enjoy!


Tips for an Involved Dad

 

 I am a young father who has studied developmental psychology from a minister stand point and have a daughter who is almost 2 years old and another daughter who will be born in Jan. My wife has been a member of your site since being pregnant with our first. She always tells me how she reads about a woman's boyfriend or husband saying they want to be involved but complains that he can't due to one reason or another.

 

Our situation was a little different than most until recently. I was a stay at home dad and she worked during the day. I did the feeding with pumped breast milk, changed the diapers, did nap time etc... Even related better with some of the women in the church more than my wife because she was/is the money maker. This has changed due to me recently being disabled and need a babysitter here with me at the house for our daughter and for my self. I find my self with a lot of time and I know not every dad is a stay at home dad but I thought I could offer some tips.

 

  1. The most important thing to being an involved loving father is this, get your priorities straight. Many people say your child comes first, this is only somewhat true. You were a husband before you were a father. Your child needs to grow up seeing how much you and your wife love each other. This deeply impacts the psychological development of your child. When your infant sees mommy and daddy love each other they too will feel loved and know they are in a loving home. Also though keep this in mind, your child comes before yourself. If your child needs you, unless you are under extreme circumstances you go to your child, for what ever reason. Our almost 2yr old has currently been making me get her out of bed in the mornings. This is extremely hard for me some days as I am in a wheel chair now and some days my arm muscles don't work so my wife and I somewhat fake it. I reach my hands through the bars of her crib and put them on her while my wife just pushes up on her butt making her think I am the one lifting her. Anyways.. your child does come before you but your wife comes before your child. Also though, mothers it is the same for you. You were a wife before you were a mother, keep being the wife, show your husband you love him etc. Also your child comes before your self. Also remember this, parents you are still a married couple it is okay to act like one. Do things together that you both enjoy without the child around. My wife and I have nightly tea and talk about our day after bed time. Little things make the difference in a family.

 

  1. Do not take what I say about putting your child before your self to an extreme, as parents, each individual parent, will still need alone time. Mommy will still need personal Mommy time and Dad that means you let her go out with her friends or have a day to her self and you deal with the kid. Guess what though Mommies Daddy still needs personal Daddy time with friends so Mommy will have to be alone with the child. DO NOT ABUSE THIS!!!! TOO MANY TIMES DO FATHERS JUST LEAVE THE KID WITH MOM, IT WILL SCREW UP YOUR KIDS PSYCHOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT

 

  1. Spend time with your new baby, it isn't a chore. This doesn't have to be things only an infant/baby/toddler would like to do. It is easy; it can be such things as having your child sit on your lap while you watch your favorite TV show, sports show etc. It is more about the closeness of the physical contact during infancy and talking to your child while you are doing these things than anything else.

 

  1. Don't be afraid to change a diaper. It is your child too, thus you share the responsibility of keeping the child clean. This also goes along with the spending time with the child. The infant will pick up on that you are about him/her by you doing this, instead of just having mommy do it all the time. Also make it fun for the child, once again talk to your child while you do this, tickle their tummy or something along these lines.

 

  1. Find something you and your child can do together that is special. An example from with our daughter is before I became disabled and could still fit in her room without the wheel chair I would put The Beatles on in her CD player and dance/sing with her before nap time and bed time. Through about 4 or 5 songs, this started when she had  colic as a new born and my wife couldn't get her to go to sleep. She will be 2 in Dec. and still requires listening to The Beatles before bed time and requires a night-night kiss from daddy.

 

  1. If you are a dad who works all day and your child has not seen you all day, your child will want to see you. For our household it was the opposite, my wife worked all day and as soon as "Mommy" got home she is the only person our child wanted and still mostly wants, unless our child doesn't see a lot of me during the day which then confuses our daughter because she has to split what little time at night before bed time between the two of us and makes for an unhappy baby. Anyways I know it is hard working all day and coming home to a child, trust me I had heard my wife complain many a night and I know it is the same for a working dad but it means a lot to the child. Also do not assume because your wife has been home all day that she hasn't worked as hard as you. Trust me she has. Changing diapers, feeding the kid, bathing the kid, cleaning the house, doing the dishes, taking care of any pets, usually making out the bills, mailing the bill and some stay at home parents go shopping during the day and just take the kids with them is hard work. So take your turn, your kid wants you too. They need equal time with both parents and to feel love from both parents.

 

  1. Do not let breastfeeding be an excuse why you aren't close to your baby or that you can't get close to your baby. Do the opposite encourage your wife to breastfeed for the health of the child. Also something I would recommend, encourage you wife to pump when she has free time and you bottle feed breast milk to your child. For you personally it can feel like you contribute.  Before our daughter weaned herself my wife would pump while she was at work for the next day of work. So I had a constant supply to feed our daughter during the day. The same can be done at night. Mother's can pump during nap time and have milk ready for Daddy to feed to little baby at night. This will give the Mother's nipples a break at night time. Or you can adjust to co-sleeping/room sharing so that your wife gets more sleep, and still feeds the baby and saves you having to get up and fix a bottle.  Also here is a nice tip for daddy, if your wife breast feeds and the child wakes up hungry you always have the excuse "sorry dear I can't feed him/her my nipples don't work"

 

 

 

I hope this list helps and the daddy's out there give things on this list a try. Adjust the tips as needed, every situation is different but principles are the same. All of these can be broken down into two main tips, as mom and dad love each other and also love your child by spending time with your child. If you have any comments you can leave them with my wife or email me at dmgibbons@mywdo.com

 

Thanks,

 

Dustin


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Comments:

canta...
Nov. 1, 2010 at 1:05 AM

can you pass these along to other fathers. thanks for the post.

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preac...
Nov. 1, 2010 at 1:06 AM

Everyone can feel free to print, pass on, whatever- he wants everyone to read this :)

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sleep...
Nov. 1, 2010 at 5:50 AM

you are a very lucky woman to have such a smart guy!

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Jayme
Nov. 1, 2010 at 10:49 PM

This is so wonderful.  You're husband definately has his head on straight :)  Thanks for posting this!

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preac...
Nov. 2, 2010 at 3:18 PM

lol his head is on straight b/c he had brain surgery and straight is the only way it can go on now ;P

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