Friday, June 19, 2015

Daddies and dynamics that are changing

Father's Day is this weekend and I'm so excited!

It is hard to believe that it was on Father's Day last year that I told my dad he was going to be a grandpa for the third time.  It was a special day and if I had known what the next year had in store, my heart might have burst that afternoon in Dry Creek.

Now, as Matt and I wipe the sleep out of our eyes, we cannot help but beam over our sweet four-month-old daughter.  

Lila Rose is our definition of the word "joy" and nothing compares to the feeling of her smiling back at us!

Lila smiles a lot.  

She has since her first week of life.

I made an interesting observation on our first weekend getaway this month when it comes to the best smiling images of Lila.

She smiles with her whole being when she's looking at her dad.

Lila knows her daddy's face, voice, shoulders to drool on and arms to hold her.  She lights up when he is around her.

There is no doubt in my mind that the quality time that pair spends together each morning without me has created the deepest of bonds.

Matt and I both work outside of the home full time, but our hours are quite different. 

During the week, I go to bed shortly after we put Lila down for the night.  My alarm is set for 2:30 A.M., I pump her bottle for the morning, get dressed for work, and leave the house 45 minutes later.

One of the most common questions I've heard from people during my pregnancy and up to today is, "What will you do with Lila when you have to be at work so early?"

My answer has been an easy one.  "Her dad will take care of her."

"Oh, alright," some might respond.  

"You're so lucky to have him," others have said.  

"That's got to be hard for you to not be there" is another common reaction.

And then there's the "Mr. Mom" comment, as well.

Here's what those reactions have taught me: gender roles still have some pretty old-fashioned expectations that are not beneficial for mom, dad, or the baby.

Sure, I know the dynamics have changed a lot since I was a baby and definitely since my parents and their parents were babies.  It would have been unheard of for my grandpa to stay at home to raise children while my grandma was the breadwinner.  Even in my parents' generation - child-rearing duties fell primarily on the moms, while the focus for dads was oftentimes financial and disciplinary.

All of those contributions are important.

But if those are still the roles adhered to today, I think we are all missing out on something special.

Dads can be incredible nurturers.  Dads can be fantastic midnight bottle feeders.  Dads can be brilliant burpers.  Dads can give baths, read books, and rock a baby to sleep.  Dads can do daycare drop-offs, pick-ups, or arrange for sitters.

When we encourage dads to do more than diaper duty, we are letting them in on the magic of a bond so many moms experience in those first months, but dads might not feel until baby is a little bigger.

On this first Father's Day for Matt, I say thank you for mastering daycare drop-offs. 

Thank you for showing Lila the world around her.

Thank you for getting up in the night to hold a baby that isn't sleeping - even that time a bathtub was the only place that worked.

Thank you for being a comforter after shots appointments.

And not changing your clothes when I dress Lila in coordinating fabrics.

That comment about me being so lucky to have you is true.  And I know a rosy-cheeked little girl who will smile and agree:)



  1. I enjoy reading your blogs! Your ability to communicate through writing is AMAZING!!! I am engrossed the whole time 😊!!

    Thank you for sharing!

    Shannon B.

  2. This was an amazing tribute to Matt! Loved reading it. And yes Lila is one of the happiest babies I've ever seen. Truly a sign of being so loved!