To My Wife: Why I’m Not a Super Dad

People sometimes ask me how I ‘do it all’.  My answer is ‘I don’t’. Not at all. As you will see, I am blessed to have an equal partner on this journey. Someone who has always seen it as his job to share the sometimes exhausting responsibility of raising children with me. Today he’s even writing a post for me! I hope you enjoy his thoughts on his role as a father and being called a ‘super-dad’ for contributing to raising our children.

To My Wife: Why I'm Not a Super Dad | Happiness is here

To my wife,

This may seem strange but I want to thank you for not putting me up on a pedestal like I’m some kind of “super-dad” or “super-husband”. Don’t get me wrong, I know you think I’m a good dad and a good husband…but you also expect me to be. There is a difference.

Yes, I spend time with my kids when I’m not working.

Yes, I try to buck the trend in parenting where it can benefit my children.

Yes, I’ve been known to wear a baby carrier over my best suit at weddings we’ve attended.

Yes, I like to read about innovative ways to raise my kids.

Yes, I am vocal about child safety, the rights of a child, and the happiness of my children.

Yes, I get up at night to put my kids back to sleep so you can get some rest before you go at it again the next day.

Yes, I do the cooking in the house and often eat last to make sure you all have eaten when you’re hungry.

Yes, I sacrifice the things I want to do with my personal down time to make sure you and the kids are getting what you need…and I don’t feel like it’s a sacrifice.

To My Wife: Why I'm Not a Super Dad | Happiness is here

When people learn of me getting up at night, or see me rocking a baby to sleep at a social function when you’re also free and able to do it…I’m held under a spotlight glowing in the gleam of golden stars with a brass band sounding my excellence. And it’s embarrassingly unfair because they are seeing the one or two times I do it each week, and often it’s viewed as though I’m giving you the night off…as though you should be doing it, but I’m such a hero of a father that I’m stepping up for 30 minutes of fame.

Where is your brass band?

Name me a mother…or to be socially correct here, a primary care giver…who doesn’t do all of those things. Why should I get special recognition from family or the general community?

I find it socially unacceptable that there exists an unapologetic double standard in society that the expectations on mothers and fathers are grossly different. When people say to me “you’re such a good dad” who are they comparing me to? There is no good answer here. I’m still at a loss as to why—in 2014—we can still consider someone who earns the money for the family and then plays parent outside business hours an elite talent, when someone who cares and nurtures a family 24 hours a day is the “pass” mark.

Whether rightly or wrongly I automatically feel ashamed and a little embarrassed when I’m told I’m a good dad because I feel as though they are telling me that I’m an exception and to be commended…but those same people can have expectations that mothers should be perfect all of the time. Much like the current expectations of mothers, being an active and involved father shouldn’t be an exception, it should be the rule. I love that we can both see that we’re each working hard with our kids to be active and involved, be happy with each other that we’re on the same page, but don’t see what we do as extraordinary. No one is perfect, we all make mistakes. I guess it’s the fact that you know what we are trying to achieve, and I know what we’re trying to achieve, and we keep each other on track. It just doesn’t sit well with me that I get a pat on the back for my role in this partnership while there is an unspoken understanding (and as you’ll see below, sometimes a spoken understanding) that what you are doing is just the expectation.

I recall someone in my family once commenting on me going to work tired from being up late with our daughter and was worried about my health. When I responded that I stayed up late at night if there was a requirement to do so in order to give you a break from having to look after the kids 24 hours a day, the response saddened me greatly: “Well that’s what she’s there for; that’s just what we do”. How do you respond to that?! For the record, my response was “No, that’s what parents are there for”.

If I had to be recognized as a good father—or preferably, a good parent so there isn’t an unspoken comparison against other fathers—I’d like it to be for things that are above and beyond the expectations we should all place on ourselves as parents. Specifically for us, I should think that we could receive plaudits for taking a stand against smacking our children; for treating our kids as valuable people; for taking a stand against demeaning comments directed at kids because “that’s what was said to me as a child and I turned out ok!”; or having the guts to buck convention to homeschool our kids because yes, in some ways it’s a risk! We are making everyday decisions that buck conventional wisdom and having the courage to put our kids first.

To My Wife: Why I'm Not a Super Dad | Happiness is here

So thank you for expecting me to be different.

I love that you expect me to be involved, have opinions, contribute to the planning for our future, and to talk at length about how we will achieve our goals for our family…

I love that you expect me to read about parenting and education and personalities and bringing up daughters…

I love that you hold fast with your position on parenting knowing that you’ve read enough and are experienced enough to have an understanding of what’s best for our children, and that you expect me to do the same…

I love that you acknowledge that we both play a role in our family, we both spend a lot of energy keeping our family happy and secure, and we both are working towards the same goal…and that you expect me to understand what that means for both of us…

I love that you expect me to be a parent, not a father. There is a role for both certainly, but a parent in our minds translates to a partnership.

I am not a superstar father or husband. I get frustrated. I get tired. Sometimes I can be selfish. I make mistakes. I forget what I’m trying to achieve with our family and can take back steps. But isn’t this true of every parent?

No I’m not a superstar, but I do love you and I do love my kids.

And if we’re being honest, you’re not a superstar either – none of us are. But you work bloody hard to make us all happy and make sure our kids get every opportunity they need to be happy in life.

I think we all need gold stars. We all need recognition and understanding. So from me to you, thank you for being you and for letting me be me.

Love, Hubs

To My Wife: Why I'm Not a Super Dad | Happiness is here

71 thoughts on “To My Wife: Why I’m Not a Super Dad

  1. As a not-super-dad myself, thanks for sharing this. Hope more Dad’s read this post. It is so true. Why do we get a pat on the back for staying up late once to put the kids back to sleep, when Mum’s do it everynight.

  2. What a lovely read. I should pass this on to my mother-in-law who, on visiting me when my son was about 3 weeks old and my daughter just under 2, said “I’d better do your washing up, it’s not nice to come home to all that after a day at work”. No, but it’s a blast to look around my mucky house whilst trying to survive another day at home with these two!! I am very blessed to also have a great, hands on dad who will do whatever it takes to make us happy and look after us, whilst also recognising that I am doing the same thing…….it’s a shame that other people don’t seem to see that

  3. This made my heart fell full of love and hope!
    Thank u two for share this with us, so far from but I can fell conneted with.
    Hope someday I can find someone to share a life time and love for being parents to the same kid.
    Love from Brasil!
    xo

  4. That is beautiful! You two could write a book! I am married to an incredible man, as well, who has played a pivotal role in making our son the wonderful husband that HE has become. Godly men are a blessing.

  5. This is certainly AWESOME!! There are tons of great men and fathers still in existence, and it is simply our desire to be the best we can be for our families. Again, this is an AWESOME piece! Tell “Hubs” to keep it up!! LOL!

  6. I love this! My husband has gotten congratulated for taking my daughters to the grocery store, and he was pretty peeved about it. He shares many of these sentiments. I sent him a link to this with a note telling him how glad I am that we’re in it together!

  7. This literally brought tears to my eyes because I could swear my husband had written this. It is such a blessing knowing there are parents out there that seem to be going along the same road as my family. Thank you so much for sharing this 🙂

  8. The very fact you recognise that what your doing should be normal and that you can see a primary caregiver should be able to expect the contribution and involvement of their partner makes you quite exceptional. Which is unfortunate would be lovely if every primary earner in the relationship saw it this way.

  9. i married a child… A father who would never help with the nights because he didn’t cope well without sleep, even when 3 years of sleep deprivation led to PND for me (which he told me he didn’t believe was a real thing) a father who happily did the fun stuff but never the hard stuff – who believed the way he was raised was the only right way… Reading this makes me feel so hopeful. I am so glad there are men out there like the one who wrote this, and many of the commenters – I am so glad there are children out there genuinely being raised by both parents. Fathers not only willing to step up and ‘help’ but who recognise that raising their children is a joint responsibility and such a privelage. Thank you.

      • I, too, am in the same boat as Lisa. And I feel almost jealous of all the women out there who have such helpful, hands-on, inspirational and loving husbands who is also a GENUINE parent for his/your children. It aches to see how my husband too differs so dramatically, and I can see how fake his relationship towards me & our daughter is. But I too, like a lot of other women have hope that our single-handled efforts will one day pay off in raising respectful children who one day will become parents themselves…my biggest hope & pray is that my daughter (she is only 2 so the road ahead is a long one) will NOT settle in a ‘happy-ish’ marriage and struggle behind-the-scenes on her own…but to seek the right genuine man/husband/father for their future children. I ache for her already, but I have hope too! Thank you for posting this, Sara.

  10. A great post, thanks for sharing! It’s always nice to hear another perspective. It’s true that there are huge double standards in society when it comes to the roles of primary and secondary caregivers. Hopefully times are changing, and people can alter their views from seeing women, by-definition, not only responsible as the primary caregiver, but if she isn’t, then society seeing her as a bad mum. And by the same token, men only being seen as “babysitters.”

  11. This so beautifully written. As a wife married to a man who thinks and acts exactly like your husband Sara, I had tears in my eyes with admiration and respect. It takes a lot of guts for a man to believe he is worthy of cooperative fatherhood these days, especially since the previous generation – the generation that raised our husbands – would not have been this involved. And what an incredible thing for our children to witness, men who relish their parenthood tasks and respect and support their partners. This will mean that your daughters will choose their partners based on the amazing role-models they had in you both as their parents. Seriously love this post, and hope there will be a few more to come from hubby’s perspective?

    • Beautifully written.
      Sounds just like my husband, and he too is my partner in life not just my husband.
      We share every role in our home and we have a strong beautiful family because of it. Our children see that we work as a team through decision making, being actively involved and spending time with the children and because of this I believe that they are and will continue to be compassionate, helpful, sincere and respectful human beings. I agree with Andrea and know that my daughter will choose her partner based on the role model she has had and I look forward to meeting him some day.

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  13. Thanks for sharing…even though i am a s.a.h.m. and home school our kids, my hubby is much the same. He works up to 16 hours a day sometimes but he still gets up at night, makes sure i get some “me” time when i need it and will help around the house with chores on his one day off a week. This is in addition to making sure he keeps in touch with his musical obligations (he’s also in a band). Someone once mentioned that he was “stuck” with the kids. His response was that he didn’t see it as being stuck, but as having quality time with his children. I really enjoyed reading this from your hubby’s perspective…and i agree that once we choose to bring children into this world, we should all be responsible for raising them…without being praised for being good parents! I don’t expect it and neither does my other EQUAL half.

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  15. Enjoyed the read, highly agree. I signed up for being a dad and compliments are a little odd, when this was a decision we made together. Being a present partner in our family is kinda mandatory to keep the harmony.

  16. Reading it brought tears to my eyes. I felt as if my husband has written it. Our son is blessed to have such a wonderful parent in his father. He is awesome. Many a times I fail as a good parent but he never fails. Our son is happiest when he is with him.
    May every father be like him.
    Thanks for sharing this. May God bless you and your family !

  17. That was wonderful to read; you sound like great parents! If I’m ever fortunate to start a family with someone, they would definitely have to be on board with equal parenting. The alternative would wind up with me feeling bitter and resentful :p

  18. As my husband just got up to change our newest daughter’s diaper without blinking an eye, this made my heart so happy to read! Thank you for sharing this! Loving your blog!

  19. May I ask, what does your husband expect of you? What does he expect of your finances? Do you have joint accounts? Have you communicated the expectations he beautifully wrote about above? Or have you wonderfully found yourself on a similar page, and embracing challenges together / with similar expectations of each other?

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