1 Key to being a Great Mom
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Today I would like talk to the moms about how you can have a family that thrives. As I discussed in our main video, Why Families Struggle, the imbalance in families is causing a huge amount of unnecessary suffering. So often, you moms are left overburdened with too much of the responsibility, while we dads are left disempowered and disengaged from the family.
In this dynamic everyone suffers, especially the kids as our relationships strain and often fall apart as a result of these strains. In order to have the family that thrives, us men need to step up and get engaged, but we also really need the help from the moms. We really need your support to be that dad. Your instincts to be a good mom, can often get in the way of what we need as dads to find our way.
Fortunately, you moms have a very strong, instinctual response to go and take care of your child. If they are crying, doing something dangerous or having a tantrum, your body screams, “Go do something now!” Unfortunately, that instinct often does not give us men a chance to get in there and figure it out for ourselves. We do have a similar response, but it is typically not as quick and often our impulse is just to let you do it because we believe you are better at it. And often you are better because you have more experience.
In order for us to get good at at really taking care of our kids, we have to find our wheels. That requires you sitting back in that moment and allowing us to step forward. But that is hard to do because we are talking about instinctual biological wiring that says take quick action in that moment. To counter that wiring, you have to bring in a fair amount of effort.
The easiest way to do this is to just take a few breaths and refrain from doing anything at all for a minute or two. Just close your eyes, notice the intense sensations in your body, and the voices in your head that are saying, “Go do something. No, he is doing it wrong. He should do it like this. I need to tell him how to do it.”
Take control of your impulse and give him the space to step forward.
Of course if he is used to you doing it, it may take a while and some collaborative conversation for him to realize there is now the space for him. If you simply stand back, you are only changing half the equation and you will get the failure you expect.
A dear friend of mine and mother recently said, “Even when I’m right in my mind, it is more important that my husband have a position of power in the family than I be right and he be wrong.” Criticising, nagging and pulling on your partner will just cause him to shrink back. It is no different for men or women, just in this situation because you so often have the power due to the nursing relationship and the strong instinctual bonds.
We need more space. We clearly have to choose to step up, but we also need your support in tolerating that instinctual reaction, supporting us, validating us, and giving us that chance to be wrong.
The second thing that you can do to have your family thrive is to sit down with your partner and just ask him how things are going for him. Ask him how you’re being in the relationship. Is it working how you are being? Are there other ways that you can support him? Get feedback from him. Find out if there are ways that the situation could go better and support him to feel better about the family. That will allow him to have a voice that may be difficult for him to have and will hopefully lead to him asking you, as well.
Having that kind of collaborative conversation about how to be a team is obviously really important and so rarely done. We are typically left to resent one another with our fixed ideas of how the other person is. Take that time to sit down, not to tell them how they should do it differently, but to find out how you can do it differently, to find out what’s working and not working. That will lead to the collaborative conversation that both of you need.
When women stepped into the workforce 50-70 years ago, it took a lot of effort from those women to stand up in the face of all the voices that were saying they could not do it. Fortunately, there were some number of men that were there supporting women to have the space that they deserved.
Now we need your support to fully inhabit our position within the family. So many voices are saying that we are the second-class parent, that you know better and we are better off giving you the baby. But it is not true and with your support, we can create a balanced, empowered family that requires a lot less effort on your part and a lot more joy for everyone.
Please, help us be the dads that we can be, we really need your support.
Thank you for joining me for another episode of Full Frontal Fatherhood. I would love to hear your thoughts. Please join the conversation below, but let’s keep it friendly and nice as this is difficult stuff and we are all just trying to do our best. We will see you next time for another episode.