Hands-On Dads

I found out a few weeks ago that the first Thursday in November is "National Men Make Dinner Day." My first reaction was disgust. Why do men need a designated day (or two, if you count Valentine's Day) to step up and help out or make their significant other happy? Why isn't this an every day occurrence? Then I wondered if I'm just a brat because I expect more from Jacob. 

My dad was very involved in my childhood. He got out of the navy when I was six years old. My mom worked full-time while he worked nights and went to community college, then eventually University of Washington. For a few important (and some of my favorite) years, he was there after school and during the summer with me and my siblings. He cooked, cleaned, helped with homework, and most importantly, he paid attention to us. He introduced us to horror movies. He put M&Ms in our popcorn. He built igloos with us when we got a crazy snowstorm in 1989. He took all the neighborhood kids to the park for home run derby. He drew pictures of us. He talked to us about books, news, politics (I was really concerned about the Gulf War when I was 11), movies, school, life. He didn't treat us any differently than our mom did.

Our neighbors didn't have involved dads, but a lot of my friends did, so it didn't seem totally uncommon or out of the ordinary to me. I didn't realize until high school, when my dad was always on my case about where I was going and who I was with, that some parents weren't as connected to their kids as they maybe should have been. And then I got a huge wake up call as an adult with fellow mom friends who had to ask their husbands to "babysit" their kids while they went to a movie or out to lunch. Of course you have to check with your partner to be sure they are available and able to hang with the kids if you make plans, but dads do not babysit their own children.

Jacob is an amazing hands-on dad and husband. Yes, I'm a stay at home mom, but I don't always get around to everything. He makes dinner at least once a week, even more if I ask him to, and makes a big breakfast every weekend. If I'm having trouble keeping up with the housework or if we need to clean before a party, he steps up with no complaint. He plays with the kids the second he gets home from work. They rides bikes, go on hikes, play board games, build huge train sets, and have dinosaur battles. He makes it to practices, games, school conferences, and events. He takes them to swimming lessons so I can have some quiet time in the house. He also tucks the boys in and reads stories every night. He's there for them, just like my dad was for me.

On top of that he encourages me to be my own person. He knows I have interests outside of our family and wants me to have fun. I go to movies, concerts and musicals with friends. I go out to dinner or shopping with my siblings or parents. I am even "allowed" to go on vacations with out him and the kids. Gasp! Some of my friends can't wrap their head around that one. Jacob doesn't need one of our moms to come over to care for the kids while he goes to work. He takes a few vacation days and spends time with them. He's capable of getting them off to school, preparing three meals a day, and filling their days with fun activities. I don't worry for one second when I'm gone and the kids hardly even miss me.

I sometimes wonder if I got lucky with Jacob. I mean, how could I have known how awesome of a dad he'd be when we were dating? But then again, would I have settled for anything less? My dad set the bar pretty high. Either way, I am incredibly thankful for the man, husband and father he is. I wouldn't change a thing.

Except for maybe fixing the kitchen faucet that's been leaking for ten months now...


Karen M. Peterson said...

My brother is the same type of dad. Very involved, makes sure my sister-in-law gets out and gets to do what she wants, etc. I don't know where he learned it because he didn't have much of an example, but I know my nephew is a better kid for it.

Jo said...

Yay for great dads! Mine is way more involved with our kids than what his dad ever was. My brother is also like that. And the great thing is that everyone benefits from it.

Misty, Handbags + Handguns said...

This is an awesome post!