Friday, January 30, 2009

Parenting Together (a novel concept)

My six-year-old daughter had her first ever ear infection. She had been fighting a cold and fever but it wasn’t until she began asking us to repeat everything and commenting on how funny everything sounded that my husband suggested she may have an ear infection. He was right.

We can learn so many valuable lessons in every day opportunities. My daughter’s illness is no exception. During her second week of fighting the cold I was facing a weekend away from home as I prepared to go to a conference. I woke up the day before I was to leave worried about leaving her behind and the impact it would be to my husband to care for a sick child. It isn’t that I didn’t think my husband would want to care for her, I was solely focused on how I should be there.

In that moment I realized it really wasn’t about the impact to him but that I thought I could do better. Truth is, he is an amazing father and I need to recognize that he and I are sharing in the responsibility of caring for Lydia together. We each have strengths in our character and our parenting styles that we impart to her which will fashion Lydia into who she is—a valued, loved, and beautiful girl.

Too often I formulate decisions in my mind as if I am alone in this parenting gig. What a shame that I think that way because I am diminishing the value my husband brings to Lydia’s life. I am also robbing myself of recognizing I don’t have all the answers and I don’t have to handle the day-to-day by myself. As I gave the weekend over to the more than ample care of my husband I also gave him the gift of growing closer to our daughter. It is those shared moments that will build a foundation for them to have a close relationship when she is older. And that I truly value.

From here on out I vow to focus on working with my husband. It honors him and gives me the freedom to loosen my level of responsibility as we share in life together. It may take me a while to completely redirect my thinking but the tradeoff will certainly be worth the effort.

Thank you Michael for being the incredible husband and father that you are to our family each and every day!

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely, insightful post. Yes, dads contribute much to their children's lives. In The Birth to Five Book, there's a chapter called Father Facts telling why dads matter, and the many benefits to kids. For example, children who have fathers involved in their daily care score higher on IQ tests.

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