Monday, June 10, 2013

8 Things Every Dad Needs This Father's Day (Psst: They Are All Free!) {Mindful Mothering Mondays}

"Here it comes...keep your eye on it."

It's nearing the end of baseball season.  I wonder if they will keep it up, those two, out back at every opportunity.  Ben stands in front of the makeshift batting cage Uncle Elijah made out of an old chain link fence, his face a scowl of concentration.  They are just practicing with a plastic bat and a few whiffle balls, but you wouldn't know it from the way they are acting.  On an early summer evening, these two are in their own little world.

Ben will be 10 this summer and a decade of parenting has taught me a thing or two.  Some things I take less seriously now than I began - and some things carry more weight than I could ever have imagined.  As I watch my husband throw the pitch, and my boy whip that bat around like a tornado and hear that unmistakable "crack!" of the ball making impact, I can see it in his face - that glance toward his Dad to make sure he saw, that he noticed, that he's proud.  In that moment, I feel that gratitude of undeserved grace pour right over me.

We became parents young, before either of us felt ready for it.  But more and more I am realizing that no Daddy boot camp class can make a man into a father.  There's simply more to it than learning how to change a diaper, swaddle, burp and hold a tiny new person.  In fact, those sleepless nights at the beginning of a child's life seem like a piece of cake compared with what comes later on. If only all parenting problems could be solved with swaddling and shushing!  From the first positive pregnancy test, Jason changed.  His heart turned toward his family and as far as I can tell, he has never looked back.  Unlike my struggles in those early years, torn between my self centered nature and my love for my kids, he has been solid since day one.

I spent a morning digging through old files and blogs for photos to make into a slideshow for him. As I choose and arrange photos and see the span of a decade in his fatherhood spread before me, it takes my breath away.  That someone who was so unsure, so naive and so very young, could grow into the man and father he is to these children of ours - it's nothing short of miraculous.  And I have done very little to deserve a man like him

With Father's Day fast approaching, I watch the photos scroll and think about what it takes to be a Father to a growing brood like our own.  The weight of a child's trust, moral development, character building and love that a man carries on his shoulders the day he cradles his child for the first time.  Being a Father is sacrifice.  And while I wax on and on and on about how marginalized Motherhood is in our time, have you noticed that Fatherhood is scarcely mentioned anywhere at all?  It is as if it has simply vanished from our culture, hardly worth an honorable mention.  But the truth is, I could not mother my children the way I do without my husband at my side, doing his part.  Men who choose to father, and father well, need support in their vocation just as us Mamas do.

But what to do for Father's Day?  How can I wrap 10 years of gratitude into something that makes sense, something that conveys the depth and weight of what he has done for us?  I've noticed there's nothing that fits that bill sold in a store, so I came up with a list of my own.  Perhaps not just for Father's Day, but every day?  In building up this man who serves tirelessly right along side me in this journey, I become not only a better wife, but a better Mother to my little ones.

8 Things Every Dad Needs This Father's Day Today

1) Praise your husband to your children.  Build him up in their hearing, to their faces.  Tell them how much you love and respect him, and why they should too.

2) Be affectionate with your spouse, verbally and physically.  It's well and good to talk positively about him when he isn't around, but make sure your outward displays of affection and approval cement the message to your kids of your love and admiration for him.  A hug when he takes off for work and when he returns does the trick.

3) Give them opportunities to bond.  Encourage your husband to play with your children - after dinner, on the weekends, whenever you get a chance.

4) Stay united with him, even if you aren't sure he handled something correctly.  Take him aside privately if you need to discuss the situation, but always show yourselves united in front of the kids.

5) Help kids treat Dad with honor and respect.  Help them pick up the house before he comes home, have a plan for dinner and meet him at the door with a hug and a smile.

6) Pray for Daddy during family prayer time and get the children in the habit of including him in their nightly prayers.  The job that this man has is huge - he needs prayer!

7) Ask him daily what you can do to help.  I fell out of habit of doing this and need to begin again!  It is a basic "treat others as you'd like to be treated" concept - ask your husband if there's anything he needs you to do, beyond your normal activities.

8) Smile.  You're doing this!  Together, working hard and making lots of sacrifices, you are raising little souls.  A huge and lofty goal that you are taking on together.  It's exciting, it's fun, it's challenging and it's worth it. So smile at him.  And I bet you he smiles right back.


{It's Mindful Mothering Mondays, a day to take a deep breath and write out your mothering journey, whatever form it takes. A day to link up for encouragement from others who are in this same phase of life. A day of writing out the trials and triumphs and what you're learning right where you are, right now.

You might post recent struggles or thoughts. Maybe just a picture or a quote. Or maybe you'll just come here and read the links that others post. Whatever form your participation takes, this is a day for you.
We are all in this, together. Together, we can encourage and build one another up, be honest with our shortcomings and strengthened by community to keep fighting the good fight.

I chose Mondays because what Mama doesn't need a little encouragement on a Monday? As such, I'll have the link up ready to go on Sunday night for you to begin submitting your links.

I hope you'll meet with me each Monday! Here's what to do ~

Link up your post below. Remember to put the link to the exact post you want to link, and not just your blog url. Include in your post a link back here so others who want to join in can find us! And visit some other Mamas who have linked up.

Post the community graphic within your post, so people who are reading your Mindful Mothering post can come back here and find the rest of us!

Invite the writers of your favorite blogs to join in!

Share this meme with others on facebook and twitter. This community is for all moms, and the more that participate, the more we will be able to enjoy!!}

Grab the graphic here:

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1 comment:

  1. Fantastic post! I loved these suggestions for honoring our husbands and building them up as fathers!!!!


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