What Moms Wished Dads Knew
I recently had the opportunity to join in a conversation with a couple of moms I know and, soon enough, the topic turned to funny things their husbands had done while taking care of the kids. I was embarrassed to admit that, as a stay-at-home dad, I had pulled a few of these “no-brainers” myself.
As the list grew longer, and my face grew redder, I finally had to interrupt and ask them the following question. “What one thing do you wish that Dad knew, that would make your life easier?”
Four cups of coffee later, I folded up my notebook and dashed home to compose an email asking the same question. This I sent to a dozen moms that I know, of various ages, and all walks of life, and asked them to consider forwarding it to anyone else that they thought might have an opinion. I was amazed at the results…nearly a hundred moms replied to that email!
Even more surprising was the lack of diversity in their answers. Seems like most mom’s have a pretty short list of things they wished daddy knew (whew!), and the top five are almost always the same…
1. Moms Get Tired, Too!
If you’re paying attention you’ll probably notice when Mom needs a break. (Lots of heavy sighs, quiet and withdrawn, that ladle hitting you in the back of the head…)
Oftentimes, moms, need permission to care for themselves. Just having hubby say “Baby, let me put the kids to bed,” can really fill her love tank. Plus, with all the bedtime stories, costume changes, and “one more kiss” moments, bedtime is a great time for Dads to deepen the relationship with their children.
Want to make some big points with Mom? Jump in and offer help without her having to ask. Every once in a while, offer to take the kids out and suggest that she go have a cup of coffee and relax. Instead of asking what you could do to help, pick something and start doing it.
2. If You Have Something Nice to Say, Say it Out Loud
And in front of the kids! Letting the children know how much mommy does makes her feel appreciated in a whole new way.
Men who truly appreciate what a mom does (regardless of her role as a working mom or stay-at-home mom) will find that their partners are more willing to uphold that role without becoming bitter and, in turn, will probably find the joy of a spouse who knows the joy of being appreciated.
Face it guys, we love to be praised and told how great we’re doing, yet many times we forget to let the mother of our children know that she is doing a fantastic job. Never pass up a chance to tell her how amazing she is. It’s also a great example to your little ones!
That’s right, get down there on the floor and stack blocks. Race Hot Wheels across the kitchen floor…you know you want to! Play hide and seek, tag, or put on raincoats and go play in the rain (just make sure to clean up afterward!) Moms love to see their men interacting with their babies (Plus…you might be amazed to find that an hour of watching you playing on the floor and making silly noise is a major turn-on for her! Don’t ask, I don’t know why.)
4. Keep the Tanks Full
One mom replied, “Seems whenever I walk in, the kids are always hungry.”
So, my advice is ask the kids if they’re hungry! The smart (or, more likely, the experienced) dad will ask, and ask often.
Don’t wait for them to tell you...’cause they won’t until they’re at a crisis level! Kids aren’t any fun when they’re really, really hungry, and nothing will ruin mom’s “free time” more quickly than a house full of little grouches.
This isn’t rocket-science either. Boil some boxed mac n’ cheese, grill some hotdogs, or if you really can’t find your way around the kitchen, nuke a couple of healthy TV dinners (the kind for dieters) and serve ‘em up. A stack of paper plates and some plasticware will make clean up a snap.
Which leads us to the number one response (by far) when moms were asked what they wished Dad’s knew.
5. A Clean House Trumps All!
Overwhelmingly, moms said that coming home to a clean house is the biggie!
One mom said, “My most favorite thing is that when I am gone for the weekend, after making sure the house is spotless, I come back to my clean and tidy home. It is a blessing!”
The secret to keeping the place clean is the same as making sure your baby doesn’t swallow a power-tool … constant vigilance! Don’t wait until an hour before mom gets home to start, you won’t even have time to hire the backhoe.
Get in the habit of cleaning up every little mess as soon as you see it, wiping off the counter after every drip, and heading for the laundry basket with every tossed sock.
In fact, all of these are probably good advice whether mom is away or not…but I’m just trying to get us through the weekend, men, I’m not pretending to work any miracles here!
Novelist, blogger, and award winning travel writer, Perry P. Perkins is a stay-at-home dad who lives with his wife Victoria and their year-old daughter Grace. Visit www.perryperkinsbooks.com or his Stay at Home Dad blog:www.ricecereal.wordpress.com to read more of his work.