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Dads, I’m on Your Side. Here’s how…

July 24, 2017

In my counseling practice, I frequently hear the men in young families tell me that they work hard all day and that when they come home, they should be able to relax. Meanwhile, their partner is stressed out and instead of pitching in, they explain to their partner how to be more efficient.

It can be a challenge getting through to the dad that mom is working 24/7 even if not engaged in a task in the moment.

Even if mom appears to get a break, she has to be primed and always ready for action be it a poopy diaper, a hand reaching for the stove, a food bowl about to be toppled or a dog’s ear about to be pulled. Think of this like being a firefighter. You may not have had a run that day yet you must always be ready for action. You are on no matter what.

To add, mom’s often can’t even go to the bathroom in private. There may be some little one seeking to hang on or inspect what’s going on.

If your division of labor is that one earns money and the other takes care of the kids, please don’t think for a moment that taking care of the kids is the easy part. That parent, most often mom, may make it look easy, but it’s not.

She doesn’t need executive orders or lessons in efficiency. She needs you to pitch by chaining diapers, grocery shopping, making meals, listening to her frustrations and being told you love her.

It may not be what you saw growing up, but I can assure you, while it won’t fix all issues or stresses, it will make life far more bearable and pleasurable for you both. You will also have kids who grow to appreciate seeing their parents as a loving mutually supportive team.

And guys, please don’t even think of dissing me and telling me I am not fair and that mom’s have issues too. I won’t be disagreeing with that, but please also know, that if you are not engaged as a parent and don’t support to your partner and use blame or deflection to minimize or dismiss or equivocate what I am saying, there won’t be enough water in any hose to put out the fire you will have started with your partner.

We must always take responsibility for ourselves and our role in a relationship and as dads. It should never be a stand-off where the good behavior of one is held at bay waiting for the good behavior of the other.

Go out of your way, be the stand up dad, not for her praise but for your being more than a breadwinner and raising your profile as an amazing dad and role model to your kids.

Be the guy she wants to adore. Go first and keep going. 

Need help with this? See me.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue. I am available in person and by Skype.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

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Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

One Comment
  1. James Mackey permalink

    Hello sir,
    I lost my home of 53 years, most of my pension, and had to leave the country to find a decent place to live with what I have left. My wife comes from a wealthy family and had 3 attornies. When I ran out of money, my attorney coerced me into signing a release. I got killed. They handed me a list of outrageous demands, and threatened trial on any I wouldn’t agree to. Trial with no money and no attorney?? The divorce was in 2011 in Santa Clara Co. Cal. I am 70 years old, a retired firefighter, and CalPers pension recipient.

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