June 13, 2012
If I were a dad, I would be steamed about how much weight parenting coverage gives to mothers. Mommy wars. Attachment parenting. Breastfeeding. Stay-at-home mothers vs. working ones.
Mothers often attack each other and debate the right and wrong ways to parent in national parenting blogs, which often only use mom or mother in their titles. As a mother, I confess to writing Mommy-centric essays on occasion. But with Father’s Day approaching, I wanted to do something dad-centric: Write a thank you to my husband, the father of our four-year-old son.
It’s time to remember dads a little more as we continue this never-ending national discussion about how to raise our children. My husband is not a perfect dad just like I’m not a perfect mother. But he deserves more thank yous than I could possibly list. Here are my top 10:
1. Thank you, dear husband, for taking such an active role in our son’s upbringing from even before he was born. You cared as much as I about making the nursery a warm, earthy place. You helped give it a sense of both of us. You hung up that old drawing of a gooney bird that you had as a child. You refinished my old rocking chair.
2. Thank you for spending that first year of parenthood at my side. Laid off shortly before our son Simon was born, you thought of focusing on getting a job immediately. You instead chose to spend the first year at home with our child and figure out what type of job would make you happiest. At first, I worried about finances and about us getting in each other’s way as stay-at-home parents. But over time, we developed a solid partnership as new parents. We gave each other parenting breaks. We sometimes went together and other times took turns going with Simon to weekday music classes for parents and children. Sometimes, you were the only dad at a local drop-in play center, and you took it in stride. That year was a gift for both me and Simon.
3. Thank you for already showing our son the importance of higher education. As you neared 50, you returned to college and earned an MBA, graduating when Simon was 3. Simon may not remember being at your graduation celebration or seeing you study at our dining room table, but someday, he will ask about those photos of you in cap and gown.
4. Thank you for naturally passing along your hobbies. Because of you, Simon already loves traipsing through the woods, watching birds, weeding, and planting.
5. Thank you for helping to teach our son what it means to be a Jew. You know more Hebrew than I, and introduce our son to the language in subtle ways, like counting to 10 in Hebrew when you play Hide ‘n Seek. You embrace our attempts to mark Shabbat almost every Friday with blessings over the candles and bread. You sing out, and now Simon sings with us.
6. Thank you for participating in every aspect of early parenting. You were an equal partner in potty training. Together, we agreed to take our cues from Simon rather than use stickers, candies or other incentives. It wasn’t easy, but being on the same page as parents helped.
7. Thank you for introducing Simon to books I never would have, books like The Phantom Tollbooth.
8. Thank you for never being the sort of dad who thinks many things are just Mom’s job.
9. Thank you for the tiny acts, like setting the cereal bowls out for us before you head to work. Simon knows you do that. He knows that every morning, you think of him.
10. Thank you, my husband of few words, for saying exactly what our son needs to hear each night before he falls asleep. “I love you.”
By example, you show our son how to be a wonderful father and person. This thank you list will only grow as Simon gets older. You are a huge influence in our son’s life day in and day out. I cannot thank you enough. Happy Father’s Day, sweetheart.
This essay also appeared on Huffington Post.