Aren’t We All Hands-on Parents?

By Sam Kimura

October 1, 2019

Sam is a mother of 2 beautiful children, RN, sleep coach, lactation counselor and prenatal coach. She has a keen interest in maternal mental health and through her work, hopes to decrease isolation and increase community among mothers.

I have a great husband and I have no doubt that we are about as equal as equal can be in parenting. We have our strengths— he is great at organization, cooking and diffusing any heated moments between my daughter and me. I am great at providing the emotional support for everyday things. I can cook, but I prefer not to. I can clean but I also prefer not to. I am great at making sure that everyone goes to appointments, school and playdates on time. I can securely say that we have a good system and we both work very hard at keeping our family running.

My husband does his part— as he should because he co-created this family of ours and therefore 50% of the responsibility should be on him. So why is this shocking and surprising to people when he is an equal participant? If I had a dollar for how many times someone compliments him on being such a “hands-on” dad, I would be able to buy that Acura that I want. He is a great dad. And I am also a great mom.

This morning I woke up at 5 am, I enjoyed the peace and quiet of my house for 30 mins before the dog woke up and wanted to go outside. The kids woke up shortly after for school and came in bed with me— which I love and never want them to stop doing. We went downstairs while my husband showered. I made breakfast, played with the dog so she could go in her kennel again, got them dressed, styled my daughter’s hair to perfection, packed lunches, packed backpacks and then went upstairs for a 5-minute shower so we could leave before the morning rush. Moms— we truly do more tasks in a day than we even recognize. Give yourself a pat on the back, mamas. You deserve it.

This, however, is part of being a parent. Its what we sign up for when we agree to bring life into the world. We don’t get rewards for our exhaustive list of daily activities because it is expected that we take on this role. The reward comes in those sweet moments of quiet before bed, or the extra kiss that your boy gives when he says “Mom, can we get married one day?” and the accomplishments that you achieve for yourself when you are balancing all of the tasks of being a mother.

So, this is my request to the well-meaning individuals who want to support dads and praise them for all that they do, perhaps we can reframe the term “hands-on dad” and replace it with “equal parent”. It’s 2019. Dads don’t need a reward for being good dads. The reward is having happy, well adjusted and emotionally secure children. They need support and people who believe that they are a great parent (just like moms do), and they don’t need reinforcement that what they are doing is something magical. Can we just expect that they are and will be great dads, and not accept anything less? Just like people expect moms to be?

 

In case you needed to hear this today—- you’re a great mom. Your baby is loved, fed, emotionally secure and is occasionally dressed. That’s everything.

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