During pregnancy, birth and beyond, the world focuses on mum. I assume this is because of the physical nature of childbearing, giving birth and more often than not, mum taking on the majority of the childcare. I fully understand why this happens, but fail to comprehend why this is so often at the expense of supporting dad.
Mum’s AND Dad’s both need support and encouragement. When this simple equation is missed, it means that often dads get the short end of the stick and people can easily overlook what’s going on with dad. Times have changed. And these outdated practices and beliefs need to change too.
I recently came across an article titled, ‘Top 6 Things Mums Wish Dads Knew.’ Firstly it made me wonder who they asked to get some of those responses and secondly, it highlighted the many similarities between mums and dads. Because we are one and the same – parents. Thirdly it made me question what things dads wished mums knew. We decided to ask The Dad Network and as expected there were some common themes. So, from fantastic, real & honest dads, here are the top things dads wish mums knew.
- “The baby is not yours, it is ours.”
- “That it’s nice to be thanked once in a while for providing for the family. I tell my missus I’m proud of her and that she’s doing a fantastic job of bringing up our 2 girls, but I’ve not been thanked once in 2 & 1/2 years for my role.”
- “That we wish we could have had more time off when our children were 1st born to spend with them rather than having to go back to work so quickly“
- “That our way of parenting is just as good, even if we do things a little differently to how they would.”
- “That we wish that women’s media posts don’t tar all men with the same brush.”
- “That were not useless and ignorant as we’re made out to be.
- “That we hate being made out to be the second parent. We are not. We are both equal”
- “We are not mind readers; if you want us to do something you need to ask. If we’ve been out all day and have a list of 37 tasks already there’s a chance we may forget things sometimes, reminding is ok, making us feel bad is not ok.”
- “That we respect the job they do more than they realise and expect that in return.”
- “That we need verbal encouragement just as much as they do.”
- “I wish mums knew how thankful we fathers are that they had given birth to our child/children and how sexy and attractive they are. They always have been but even more so now that they are a mother.”
- “During childbirth and breastfeeding, etc dads just feel helpless. They see their loved one in utter agony, midwives and doctors rushing about and the only thing they can do is say “breath”. And it’s no different during breastfeeding, as you want to help and support but in truth there is little you can do to take over and you feel helpless no matter how much you try and contribute.”
- “Sex is not currency.”
- “We know this is rough for them, but we’re also struggling with the tremendous changes that are happening in our own way; there is no other time in our lives that we feel as vulnerable, helpless, overlooked, or unappreciated.”
- “Watch out for signs of depression, men suffer with depression, anxiety, mental health issues and PND too.”
- “Our relationship is going to need more deliberate, conscious effort than it ever has before. And we are both responsible for that.”
- “That I miss my kids when I’m at work and appreciate all that she does with them.”
- “Despite how much I work it honestly kills me to not be at home spending more time with them, that I wish I was home every night for a traditional supper and to tuck them into bed every single night!”
- “We are exhausted too.”
- “Dads feel too.”
The mums shared their thoughts and now the dads have shared theirs. There are many similarities and as far as I can see one small change could make all the difference. It seems communication is key. If we can speak openly and honestly without judgment, if we listen to each other and try to really hear what the another person is saying then parenting will be a much easier job for both mums and dads. We are all parents and all finding our feet on the new path of parenting. No one is the perfect parent and we are all learning on the job. We all like encouragement, we all need to feel loved and most importantly we all want to be the best parents we can be to the children we love.