We all know being a mum is a bloody tough gig, whether you’re a stay at home mum, working mum, first time mum, veteran mum, single mum, married mum, step-mum, foster mum, mum of one, mum of two, or mum of a small tribe. Mum-ing is hard work. But I’d like to take a moment and show some love and appreciation to the dads – because dad-ing is hard work too.
Dads add a different kind of magic to the family – not better or worse than mum magic, just different. In our family, dad is the one who encourages the kids to jump further, push harder, reach higher, while mum tries to bite her tongue and stop clutching the box of bandaids. Growing up, it was different – my dad was the dad who did everything he could to keep me safe, and this was OK too; both my partner and my dad are both trying to be the best dads they can be.
Dads generally get a bit of crap for gallivanting off to work then waltzing in home and being greeted with children who suddenly are behaving far better than they were for their poor mum five minutes previous. This has happened in our house on more than one occasion and I remember resenting my partner for having it so “easy” because he’s the fun dad everyone’s happy to see and I have to be boring old mum. When really, I was the one who got to be home all day and have baby snuggles and wear pyjamas until 2pm and spend all day bonding with our bubba – and he had to go to work and hope that he didn’t miss out on too many significant milestones and then come home and have (or fake having) lots of energy to spend quality time with both the kids and pander to his grumpy partner until she stopped resenting his dad-ness. I know that when I was working I couldn’t be arsed moving or being social or functional once I got home, so I’ve got to give full credit to the dads who do all of that after being functional all bloody day. And even though I’m with the kids all the time and get frustrated with that reality, I do miss them on the odd occasion that I’m not with them and am totally guttered when I miss something cool or funny or new that they’ve done – so I can only imagine that that must be hard for dads (and working mums!) as well. This post is for the dads who work their asses off to provide for their families, who sacrifice spending time with their kids and their partners to put food on the table.
This post is for the dads who have to rock their bubbas for three times as long to get them to sleep because the babies really want mum and her magical boobs, but mum is about .5 of a second away from a mental breakdown from running on a week of sleep deprivation torture. And for the dads who step in well before mum gets that close to said mental breakdown.
This is for the dads who come home, take the baby and and give mum wine instead of cuddles because they know mum is completely touched out and needs some alone time and personal space. The dads who patiently wait and support their partners while they figure out how to separate being “mum”, being “wife” and being “woman”. The dads who give their partners back massages because she’s sore from carrying around a moving, wriggling, crying sack of potatoes all day, and not because they’re wanting something in return.
This is for the dads who help with the housework because they know that they live there too and sometimes mum doesn’t get a chance to pee let alone put a load of washing on. The dads who are being dads to kids who they didn’t help biologically create, but have become their kids anyway. The dads who know that dad is a title that’s earned through raising kids, not from raising… something else.
Dads aren’t perfect, but neither are mums. But unlike mums, dads in general are often portrayed as slack or lazy (if they don’t work enough), workaholics (if they work too much) or emotionally absent (if they are sometimes tired after working) – and yes, some dads do actually fit into these categories, and I am also fully aware that some dads have resigned, been dishonourably discharged or gone MIA from their role as dad, so obviously this post is not about them. This is for the unsung heroes, the dads who are worth their weight in gold, the dads who do everything they can to provide for their families, and fully involve themselves as parents. And to the mums playing the role of mum and dad, hats off to you. I’ve been there in a past life and it is tough – but I’m sure you can agree with me that good dads also deserve recognition for their efforts.
So, here’s to you, dads. You’re amazing. Please don’t feel like you go unnoticed or unappreciated. And mamas: don’t forget to let your men know what a great job they’re doing – they need to hear it just as much as we do!
Until next time, glow mamas!