It’s super easy to list all the ways Hubby (and Daddy) is inadequate.
Tell me you’re not one of us who can plaster him to a wall when he falls short. What do you do when he doesn’t put the right matching shorts on your toddler? Or when he teaches the kids how to REALLY bounce on the hotel bed? Or lets the almost 3 year old run free in the church parking lot while he gets the baby in the car? I can plaster with the most talented… plaster-ers? Plaster appliers? Plaster-masters?
Whatever. You know what I mean. 😛
So how do you really know if you got a good one, or if Daddy is a dud?
How you know you got a good one:
#1 – He works hard for all of you
Do you know how many deadbeat dads there are?
I don’t know numbers. But it’s staggering.
Why do you think yours is so bad?
He doesn’t help around the house? Ugh. So frustrating.
But does he go to work, fully expecting that his paycheck is going to support his wife and children? Give him kudos for that. Fine, it’s expected, but just because something is expected, doesn’t mean it’s gonna happen. I know plenty of men called ‘Daddy’ who blow their check on video games, toxic drinks, and pizza.
Appreciate his hard work. TELL HIM you see what he does. TELL HIM it’s good. He might have so much spring in his step, he’ll bounce off to work.
#2 – He loves to see the minions that made him Daddy when he gets home
Do they love to see him? Do they run to him? Try to open the door? Want to wear his boots around after he gets out of them?
That last one might not count. Maybe they just wanted the boots…
Still! Babies don’t run to deadbeat dads.
If yours do run to Daddy, rejoice!
And build off of it. Encourage them to love on Daddy. Throw them in his arms when he opens the door. (Just make sure they aren’t crying). Build up the excitement by watching the time and telling them when he’s coming home. Mine book it to the window to watch for the ‘white car’, and get so animated when they see him pull up.
If they don’t run to Daddy, encourage it. Babies/toddlers/husbands are so impressionable. Even if he’s not the most involved Daddy right now, getting them excited to see him most often in turn excites him to see them. Mothers are amazing that way. We can set the tone, Mamas. Set the tone in your house well.
#3 – He has stood by his vows even when YOU were hard to live with
We can be pretty miserable.
If you’ve had Postpartum Depression (or have it), I KNOW it’s hell to go through. But try, just TRY, to sit in his seat. He lost his happy, smiling, adoring wife AND added (at least) another mouth to feed and body to clothe. He can’t be happy all the time. Mine is other-worldly happy all the time, and he still can’t be happy all the time. 😛
#4 – He loves you all
This does NOT mean he shows it like you want it.
But there are ways you can see his love if you actually look for it.
Does he ask you what to do all the time? Frustrating. But maybe he truly cares about what you want and how you like things done.
Does he throw his clothes at the base of the washing machine, instead of switching the clean laundry into the dryer? Well, he was up late with you trying to get the babies to sleep, so he slept through his alarm which meant he was running late for work. So he didn’t have time to switch them. However he knows you hate picking up his clothes all over the bedroom floor so he made sure to bring them to the laundry room.
Does he leave dirty diapers on the changing table? That’s a pet peeve for me, but hey, he CHANGED ONE. I know some dads who have changed less diapers (on THREE+ KIDS) than fingers they have on one hand.
You get the point. Look for the good. (I need this reminder as much or more than you do.)
Now you know you have a good Daddy
So how are you going to encourage him? Here’s some ideas. Taylor them to your man. You certainly know him better than I do.
- Make an effort to be up to make him breakfast or prepare him something special the night before
- Get his work stuff ready and together for him the night before
- In my case: I like to make sure his lunch bag is empty, his wallet, pocketknife, sunglasses and keys are near it and his lunch is ready to just throw in his bag in the morning. Sometimes I’ll get his boots out and leave them by the chair he always uses. And often I’ve left a reminder note with it with ‘I love yous’.
- Try to think of him throughout the day and send him short texts about ways he has helped or encouraged you, past or present
- Make a point when you’re grocery shopping to budget something just for him that would be special
- In my case: Hubby loves jerky. However high-quality, grass-fed, beef jerky is hard to find. So when I did finally find some at Wegmans, it went right in the cart.
- Make a conscious effort to be happy and thankful for the things he does (with PPD, I totally understand how extremely hard that can be. Just try, even if you have to do it through tears! I think your man will see your effort and be encouraged.)
- When he gets home: greet him, smile, get the kids involved and excited – EVERY day you possibly can
- Touch him – even if its just to run your hand across his back when moving around each other in the kitchen
- In my case: I need affection. Physical touch is a love language for me. If I don’t get it, I often pull away, when instead I could try to be more affectionate to my man. I’ve noticed when I am, it’s most often reciprocated.
- Hug, hug often, and hug in front of the kids – good for everyone involved
- Talk nicely, even when you’re annoyed
- In my case: I am utterly terrible at this. PPD made me even meaner than I thought my potential was. I can (usually) take a breath and calmly speak to the kids, but find it so hard to do that with Hubby. It’s like he should know exactly what I’m going to say before I say it.
- Make food you know he enjoys
- In my case: I know anything with cherries in it, Hubby will gravitate towards. Meatloaf (I hate it, so I usually don’t make this often). Steak. My buttered, boiled organic gold or blue potatoes. Ice cream is always, always a hit with him, just no nuts in it. 😛
Encouraging someone can be hard, yet it can be easy at the same time. Usually men are less complex than we are, so when he sees you’re putting effort into doing things he likes, that could be enough to make his day.
Keep making his day.
And don’t give up. If you have a bad day, apologize, make up and try again the next day.
When Mama isn’t happy, it truly makes the whole family not happy. Which discourages Daddy. We KNOW we have a keeper, so lets be active in encouraging him, ok?