ode to dads, part 1

May is for Moms and June is for Dads. Happy Dad Month!

Sadly, I usually don’t give Father’s Day a whole lot of thought (until Saturday night when the girls and I scurry around to make cards for Gabe). So I thought I’d turn over a new leaf this June and do a few posts to honor the daddies.

And I’ll go ahead and admit that most of these are going to come from stuff I wrote a year or three ago for what was going to be a parenting book. But I lost interest (and don’t expect it to come back anytime soon). I had most of the Team Parenting chapter written, so here’s a sneak peek (except not really, because you’re not actually sneaking a peek–what you see is all you’re gonna get).

Dads Just Wanna Have Fun

I used to think I wrote the book on parenting (okay, poor figure-of-speech choice) and that Gabe could stand to learn a lesson or two from me.

Well, that may have been the case with sponge-bathing newborns and snapping baby sleepers in the dark. But the older my kids get, the more I realize that they need more than one style of parenting. I’m not the be-all, end-all, nearly-perfect parent after all. (who’s shocked?)

There’s a reason God designed the family to include both a mom and a dad. We’re different. Like Ruth Graham once said, “If we always agreed, what’s the point of both of us?”

God created men and women the way He did for a reason. And we each have our own gifts. We can complement each other when we capitalize on each other’s strengths. Kids thrive on the meshing of mommy and daddy’s parenting styles.

I was “counseling” a newly-married woman recently about her husband’s fascination (okay, obsession) with video games and remote-controlled airplanes.

Gabe will tell you himself about his struggle with video games in the past. It became more than just a hobby/pastime for him. He was playing for hours and hours and hours each night (and day) at the expense of his work and time with God and family.

I told this young woman that nagging most definitely doesn’t work. Only the Holy Spirit can convict her husband if he’s spending too much time on these things.

That’s what happened with Gabe, and it has been a huge victory for us. He got rid of his X-box over four years ago and hasn’t looked back. I personally don’t have a problem with video games, but I do understand their addictive nature.

But before you circle the last few paragraphs in red and leave the book open on hubby’s night stand (or Xbox console), I told her something else as well. Even if we think these are pointless “kid” things, men really, truly are just great big kids. And honestly? Growing up is highly overrated. Which would you rather have—stuffy daddy in business suit using big words or fun daddy who plays with you and shows you how to fly airplanes?

We lady-folk tend to become less playful, more business once we become moms. Truth be told, we could stand to take some lessons from our guys in the art of relaxation and recreation.

And remember—kids need mommy and daddy. What can it hurt to let our husbands be boys around our kids? That “child-like” quality that drives you nuts sometime can make him a wonderful daddy.

My favorite memories of my mom? Reading books, playing games at the table, late night chats.

My favorite memories of Dad? Playing catch. Lugging wood scraps out to the burn pile. Wrestling so hard with my brother and me that he had to take his glasses off and put them somewhere safe.

Did we get hurt sometimes? Yep.

Did we care? Not a bit. It was all part of the fun.

There is no substitute for a playful daddy. If you find yourself wishing your husband would grow up, think twice about what you’re wishing for. I know some single moms who would give an arm and a leg for someone to roughhouse with their little ones.

Remember the baseball team analogy? [which you won’t, because I grabbed a part from the middle of a chapter] Play the field according to your strengths and weaknesses. Make sure all your bases are covered. Embrace your differences, don’t clash over them. Kids need that balance.

2009 Me again. After weeks and weeks of empty promises, Kaye’s Engraved Euniques Give-Away is TOMORROW!

And we sold another ad spot on 52Zoos.com! (they’ll be up soon)

And if you can come to the Party on August 1, you know I’m dying to have you RSVP. If you want to be eligible for prizes (and your kids to get goody bags), it’s a MUST. My first 2 door prizes were donated today by a special gal–gift cards to Starbucks and Graeters!

Have a great week, friends!

11 thoughts on “ode to dads, part 1

  1. Krista

    No kids of my own but I appreciate & agree with your perspective. I think a lot of that “fun role” in my childhood was filled by my uncles, but there definitely is a need for the whole spectrum of family dynamics!

  2. Melissa Smallwood

    I love your point about fathers being playful- that is one of the things I love to watch my husband do (be playful with the kids) and also one of the traits that can irritate me the most (not turning it off, so to speak, when I think he should). You helped put that in perspective.

  3. Sarah

    What a great post Marla!

    On a different note – I have been meaning to write you for a week now, but for your East Coast zoo trip you are more than willing to crash at our place for as long as you need. We live in central New Jersey and are a little over an hour away from both the Philly Zoo and Bronx Zoo (depending on traffic). We just aren’t available the 13-15th, but any of the other days are fine. I will warn you though – we have small house so it may be cramped quarters, but it you need a place to stay we’d love to have you. Have a great rest of the week!

  4. Carrie

    I love this post – it is so true! A single mom recently wrote about how she didn’t think children truly need daddies, and I wholeheartedly disagree. I have learned so much from watching Joel interact with our son, even better ways to burp the baby, and lots of fun games to play. 🙂

  5. Meg @ Spicy Magnolia

    Thanks for this great post! It’s a wonderful lead into celebrating Father’s Day. My baby boy is only 4.5 months old, but I can already tell he LOVES his playful Daddy. My hubby can get the most smiles out of him by just being goofy. Thanks for reminding me that this is something to most definitely appreciate!

  6. Denise

    Great post! thanks for coming to Parker’s party! I was looking through those books you got him – LOVE THEM! Where on earth did you get those? If you want (and I know this is a long time away, I can come over and I can help you put goody bags together! 🙂

  7. Elizabeth

    Thank you for the reminder of how important dads are. I feel guilty every year because I forget Father’s Day and my kids remember it weeks in advance. It’s so true-I became all business when I became a mom and my husband is (almost) all fun. He is the playful parent, and our family wouldn’t be the same without him. The kids need both of us, in different ways, and sometimes at different times. I love how you put it.

    Oh, and our first big fight as a married couple was about his play station use. I hated the thing! Fortunately, he’s calmed down a bit. Now we have a Wii, ugh!

  8. Kelsie

    Thanks for the great reminder of the special and unique role of a Daddy. As I’m typing this, my 2&1/2 year old son came over and began climbing all over me. I’m SO thankful for my husband’s help in expending my son’s energy and being an outlet for his must-have physical play. I am very blessed, and I want to appreciate the great man God has given me…Thanks again, Marla! 🙂 P.S. – Happy early Father’s Day to Gabe!

  9. Amanda

    I love what you wrote about dads. That reminds me that I need to tell my hubby what a gift he is to our kids. Have a great Monday, Marla!

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