If you have children, it’s likely that you’ve received as much parenting advice over the years as you’ve changed diapers. Both solicited and unsolicited. In books, newsletters, billboards, and blogs. From the pediatrician, to other moms, to strangers. For me, the five most (brutally) honest, helpful, and reassuring pieces of parenting advice I’ve received have come from dads.
1. “At some point in time you will wish that you didn’t have your child. This doesn’t make you an asshole. You’re only an asshole if you act on it. Get up, and go outside for a bit.”
Whew, that’s harsh. Our tech guy (dad of four) told me this one afternoon while at our house fixing some electronic problems. I was pregnant at the time and had something akin to the deer-in-headlights look upon hearing his words. No way, I thought. No way. Yes way. Sure enough, somewhere in the first handful of months as a mom, I dissolved into tears on my son’s bedroom floor with tech guy’s words echoing through my mind. It was my husband, then, who was left with the deer-in-headlights look as I grabbed a fistful of tissue and walked out of the room.
2. “The experts say to ignore tantrums by walking away from your child. That works great until one day your child follows you into the other room because he wants to make sure you know he’s mad.”
A perfect stranger told me this one day when Miller was a little guy. Fast forward a couple of years to now. This afternoon I had the nerve to ask my son if he wanted to go outside and play. “No,” he answered. “Really? You don’t want to go outside?” I responded. He normally heads to the door when I ask. Not this time. He fell to the floor crying over my repeat question. I walked away to the kitchen, and he followed me, making sure that his response was heard (and seen) loud and clear.
3. “Kids are the
A sympathetic text response from my big brother (dad of two girls). Don’t believe him? See examples 1 & 2.
4. “When it comes to any of the big transitions,” i.e.; crib to bed and potty training, “don’t force them to happen. If you wait for them to decide they’re ready, it’ll be much smoother and easier for everyone.”
Because of this piece of advice from my CrossFit coach (dad of three boys), I talked with my son about his big boy bed but waited for him to ask to sleep in it. About a month ago he asked if he could sleep in it one night as we finished books before bed. He’s been in it ever since for bedtime and naps.
5. “I’m not a fan of the baby stage. Once they were walking and talking and more interactive it got fun for me.”
Said by I can’t even guess how many dads over time. As it turns out, this sentiment doesn’t apply to guys only. I agree completely. To any mom out there who feels like it’s all you can do to keep your head above water with a little baby, it gets better. It gets easier. If you’re like me, you’ll love the toddler stage in comparison, tantrums and all.