Do you want to know something that can really set me off as a dad? My children being disrespectful, disobedient, or rude to my wife. If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that my wife rarely needs me to defend her from the tiny people living with us. Mostly, she needs me to support her and help her during the stressful moments of parenting.
Let me tell you how that used to work out. So I’d be at work, working hard. Meanwhile, my wife is at home, tending to our little ones. Some days my wife loves being a work-at-home mom. This is not one of those days. My phone periodically buzzes with updates. She sounds increasingly frustrated and frazzled. She's trying hard not to take it out on the kids. I wish I could help her. Finally, my work day is done and I get to come home. By the time I get home, frankly, I'm a little bit peeved at my children. I walk in the door ready to lay down the law and defend my wife's honor.
I can't remember it ever working out particularly well. Mostly I just managed to add more chaos to an already chaotic day. Which meant I wasn't really the knight in shining armor I was hoping to be. Plus it wasn't doing my relationship with my children any favors. What kid is going to keep being excited that daddy is home when he often walks in door already frustrated with them?
So instead I changed what I do. I walk in the door and it's a clean slate. I try to spend a few minutes with each child, just re-connecting with them. My wife meanwhile, may have retreated behind a locked door to get a little alone time. Some days it's a re-set, and we have a wonderful evening together as a family. Some days it's a blip and we still have a hard day. But I've learned to father in the present, not trying to fix what's already in the past.
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