"He's such a good dad."
"He's so good with the kids."
"You're so lucky!"
"It's a amazing that he will stay home and watch six kids by himself!"And they are right. He is a good dad. He is great with the kids. I am lucky. It is amazing. Before I was even interested in Jason, I told my friend, "That guy is going to be an amazing father." Little did I know that I would get to watch it day after day. Let dad be dad. I often wonder what would have happened if someone hadn't told me to let dad be dad. What if instead of letting him parent the way he knows how, I criticized everything he did? What if I didn't trust him with the kids? What if I felt the need to write copious notes every time I stepped out the door? What if I didn't let him draw all over our kids with face paint and let them get covered in mud? I think he'd want to quit. Most of us moms want our husbands to be involved. When they try to be, however, we nag and pick and rebuke.
"Oh, he can't eat that!"
"Don't let them play with that!"
"He'll get hurt! Please don't do that!"
"What are you doing? She can't possibly try that yet!"How hard it must be to try to parent with those criticisms flying through the air! The natural response of many men, understandably, is that they stop trying. Would you keep attempting something if another person constantly reminded you (in word and deed) that you are doing it wrong? I wouldn't. And so, I let dad be dad. I let him throw the kids in the air and I let him smear their face with whipped cream and I let him take little girls on muddy bike rides. Baths fix a lot of things. This isn't to say I haven't had to express concern a time or two. Us mama bears have keen observation and due to the amount of time we spend with the children, we know their rhythms and routines in a more intimate way. But for the most part, I have to let Jason be himself. I let him be the fun-loving, adventure-seeking, crazy-idea-concocting, cookies-before-dinner, this-is-impossible-and-probably-not-safe dad that he is. And in the absence of my criticism, he just gets better and better. Our kids are very lucky. And very happy. And so am I.