With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I found myself thinking about the things I am thankful for this morning, and one of those things is a wonderful husband to parent with. There are many things that I am good at as a parent, but there are also plenty of areas where I struggle. I am thankful to have a co-parent who seems to fill in the gaps where I am lacking. So in honor of my awesome husband/co-parent who I am thankful for, I made a list of 10 things he does better as a parent. The list could probably be longer, but I want him to still think he needs me around here!
1. Redirecting 1 of 10
Before I became a parent, I remember worrying a little about how my husband would interact with our daughter. Don't get me wrong, he's great with kids, but I have a child development background, and I have been to umpteen trainings about how to interact and communicate positively with children. I was worried that I would have a lot to teach him and I was worried he wouldn't do things "my way."
My worries were totally unfounded, though. He is fantastic as redirecting our daughter when she's having difficulty in a situation or on the brink of a meltdown, and he is super great about phrasing things positively. If Fern is climbing on our coffee table, he would probably be more likely than me to say "That's not safe Fern. Please climb down from there." than I might be in the heat of the moment where I might just tell her "no."
2. Being all in 2 of 10
One of my biggest parenting struggles is being truly present. There are always deadlines and laundry and dinner prep looming, so often when I am playing with my daughter, my attention is divided. I'll play for a bit then run off to attend to a task for a bit.
But, when my husband is in dad mode, he is all in. If I leave to go hang out with a friend, when I come home they are doing something super fun together, and all of Craig's attention is focused on Fern. The house might be a disaster, but she is having fun and feeling loved and doted on. I wish I was better at this.
3. Doing the voices in stories 3 of 10
My husband is hands-down better at doing all the funny voices in stories than I am. It's just a fact.
4. Being laid-back 4 of 10
I have a bit of a Type-A streak and can sometimes be a little tightly wound. My husband is way more laid-back than I am, and way more apt to let the unimportant things slide. Like when our daughter is making an insane mess while trying to feed herself at dinnertime.
I tend to want to swoop in and clean her up or help feed her, but he's cool about just letting her make a mess and worrying about it later. It creates a good balance for me.
5. Exercising insane levels of patience 5 of 10
This man is insanely patient when it comes to our daughter. She can be behaving in a manner that is unbelievably frustrating, and he will keep his cool. It's kind of crazy. Granted he isn't with her as often as I am, so he doesn't have quite as many opportunities to experience frustrations with her, but still.
He's definitely more patient than me and is really good at reminding me (in a loving way) when I am about to lose my cool and suggesting I go "take a minute" or reframing the situation. I'm definitely thankful he is here to keep me in check during those times when I definitely need it.
Emotionally detaching 6 of 10
"Emotionally detaching" sounds terrible, but let me explain as it actually ties in with the last slide as well. I think that the reason my husband is able to exercise so much patience is because he is able to emotionally detach himself from frustrating situations.
That is not to say that he is an emotionally detached parent at all — he is very involved — but he just doesn't take tantrums and meltdowns as a personal offense in the same way that I tend to. When Fern is telling me "no" repeatedly about something, or writhing on the ground in frustration, or refusing to eat a meal that I put time and love into, I can easily become overly emotional in the situation and get worked up.
Craig, on the other hand, is able to take a step back and realize that these behaviors are just a part of being a toddler and that they aren't direct offenses toward him. Even though I know this, I have a hard time remembering it in the moment.
Tuning in to our daughter’s needs 7 of 10
It's not like I tune out our daughter's needs or anything, and I definitely get her, but my husband just seems to be a little bit better at it than I am. Perhaps it's that he's really good at studying the people he loves.
He has studied me for years and is always super intuitive to my needs and emotions, often knowing what I need before I can even verbalize it myself. I think he's managed to do this with our daughter too, and he just seems to know what she needs at times when I feel like I'm at a loss.
Picking outfits 8 of 10
OK, so I know I'm a wardrobe stylist and all, but sometimes it's hard picking interesting outfits from the closet you look at every morning. Many days I'm pretty unimaginative. My husband isn't necessarily "better" than I am at picking outfits, but he always seems to come up with unique combinations that I probably wouldn't think of.
He's really good at pairing more feminine pieces with tomboy pieces and it ends up looking awesome. This outfit actually wasn't a husband styled outfit, because I couldn't find a good shot of one, but trust me when I say he's pretty great at it.
Teaching independence 9 of 10
As much as I try to let Fern do things herself, the fact is I often just don't feel like waiting around. Could Fern put her shoes on by herself? Maybe if I gave her a half hour. But do I want to wait around for a half hour? Not particularly. My husband is much better at stepping back and giving her the time she needs to try things herself and learn from her mistakes.
Making healthy food 10 of 10
See that Mickey Mouse pancake? That's my idea of a Saturday morning breakfast. I make a lot of healthy items, but I'm not all that creative, and since Fern isn't particularly adventurous (especially when it comes to veggies), I've sort of just given up on incorporating certain foods.
But whenever my husband is in charge, he gets creative and finds ways to get her to eat new and interesting things. Chicken and veggie stir fry with a peanut butter based sauce? Why didn't I think of that? Genius!
Lauren Hartmann is the founder of The Little Things We Do, a blog about life and adventures in Portland Oregon. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram or catch up on all of her posts here on Babble.
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