Society likes to tell us that moms know how to take care of kids and dads don’t know what they are doing. The popular thing is to make dads a big joke. Women want equality, but it shouldn’t be at men’s expense. My husband does great as a father and takes many roles off my plate so that I can get my work done. He does the untraditional tasks like dishes, cooking, and sometimes laundry! But he didn’t always play an active role. When my son was a baby, I often took on the “I know best” mentality while at the same time complaining about his lack of support. But how could a man who was walking on egg shells feel confident about offering me help? I knew I needed to do better as a wife and have since been on a journey for ways I can encourage my spouse.
So how do we help empower fathers?
Here are some tips:
1. Let things go.
Just like we approach life in a trial and error sort of way, fathers need the same grace! They will only get better by learning from their mistakes! If they are never given the opportunity to make mistakes, they will never learn. So during those rocky trial and error times, learn to let things go!
2. Don’t correct just because he does something in a different way.
“Different” doesn’t mean “wrong.” It takes a lot to mess up a child. The way you hold a bottle or burp a baby will be different, but as long as the baby is eating and burping, it’s fine! Allow him to be him and you to be you.
3. Consider his opinions.
There have been times when I have been in “problem-solving” mode with my kids and my husband makes a suggestion. My first response is often to ignore it because it’s always super practical and not always the way books or the internet suggests. But I can’t tell you how many times he has been RIGHT! He has calmed our kids down quickly, taught our daughter to be courageous after I went back and forth with her all day to try something new, all because he has a unique, out-of-the-box approach. Mamas, before you turn to Google, ask your spouse and consider his opinions first!
4. Don’t deem yourself the expert.
The mentality that you are the expert will automatically put a wedge in your marriage. Anytime one sees herself as superior, that seeps into all other areas of a relationship. You may be better at some parenting tasks, but you are not the expert — you are equals!
5. Pick your battles.
Some battles just don’t need to be battles. When my husband and son first started “play-wrestling” around on the living room floor, it caught me off guard. I am eleven years older than my brother and have two sisters close in age to me. So play-wrestling wasn’t really something I grew up seeing. I didn’t want my son getting hurt or learning anything about “violence.” But then I saw how much they both enjoyed this time and noticed that my son was still sweet and kind. This was a battle I needed to let go. I don’t always have to have control, and neither do you!
6. Let him discipline.
I am the all-day disciplinarian. I get sick of hearing my own voice at the end of the day, so I know my kids feel the same way. I have learned that it’s important to let my husband do the disciplining every now and then if I want to maintain any credibility. So I encourage him to use some authority and discipline during the times we are all together as a family.
It’s important we are empowering the men in our life to be great fathers and not becoming just another obstacle in their way!
Tell us in the comments how YOU empower your husbands in fatherhood!