Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dad! That's Not the Way You Do That!

While I was making the bed one morning, I noticed the bottom sheet was inside out, the seam sneering me, waving a serged thread tail  triumphantly in the air.

I recalled hearing an 8 year old voice a day before, "Dad, that's not how you do it!"

It wasn't the first time Dad heard those years in 24 years of parenting.

My husband hated changing diapers.  It wasn't that he was lazy or didn't want to participate in parenting, it just made him queasy.

Yea, the man who could gut a deer and throw the guts over his left shoulder, the man who could swiftly clean a fish and throw the entrails over the side of the boat,  was the man that could barely hold down his lunch when faced with a little pile of mustard squirts.

My hubby sent me to the craft store one  blissful Saturday morning.  All. by. myself.  No kids.  Totally alone.

When I returned home a few hours later, my oldest daughter, Jana, 4 years old,  met me at the door with a disapproving look on her face.  An equally worried Daniel, 2, stood behind her.

"Mommy," she said.  "Daddy used wotsa, wotsa  your wipes."

Looking down next to the couch I saw the mountain of mustard-streaked wipes piled high on top of a squishy diaper.  Sheepish that he'd been tattled on by a toddler, he said, "I used a lot of wipes, because there was a lot of poop."

"Mommy," Jana continued, "I twied to tell him.  You use the diaper first to wipe off the poopy.  I also twied to give him kweenex.  He didn't even wip the wipe in half.  He used a whole one each time!"

I think she was wondering if Daddy was in enough trouble to be spanked.  She looked worried. Daddy hadn't used any of the tricks I used to try to save money on a Christian school teacher's salary, and she knew them all.   I had to reassure her that Daddy's way was fine. 

It was her first of many examples that Daddy's way wasn't Mommy's way, but Daddy's way was fine. 

It was my first  of many examples that Daddy's way wasn't Mommy's way, but Daddy's way was fine.

Daddy's Way is OK.

My husband coined this phrase as we talked about the issue of women trying to drive the husband's actions from her side of the road. Because we moms are with the kids the majority of the time while Daddy is at work, sometimes it's easy to think our way is the best or only way.

Women fuss at their husbands about how they hold the baby, how they change the diapers, how they play with them, how they feed them. They don't like the clothes they pick out, the way they fold the laundry, the way they pour the milk.  The reality is, the more you criticize Daddy's way, the less Daddy will have a way. Sometimes, daddies will just give up trying.

If your husband isn't participating actively in the parenting give yourself an honest evaluation of how you have handled his "contributions" to the family. 

If you find yourself criticizing your husband's methods, ask yourself these questions - is he bringing any physical, spiritual or moral harm to the children?  Does the process matter?  Is the outcome affected?  Ten years from now will it still be a big deal to you? Do you have Biblical reasons for your stand? Is he causing more work for you with his help?

The biggest question to ask yourself is this -
do you want your children to constantly be questioning Daddy's ways? 

If Mom questions Dad's decisions, the kids will. Doubt for your husband's leadership can creep in and destroy trust as the decisions and actions you take as a family take on bigger dimensions and more serious consequences  each year.

How many wipes used for a diaper change didn't matter.  Teenage issues mattered.  I needed my kids behind Dad 100% when we entered those years. Little nags can turn into big nags.  Little doubts can turn into big doubts.

Men and women are not the same.  Our life's goal is not to have our husbands become the second wife in command, but to become the husband as the spiritual head of the home. By giving them the assurance they can husband and parent in the way that's suitable to their experience, ideas, gifts and abilities, we give them the ability to serve in a way where respect isn't commanded and demanded, it's willingly given.

And you know what?  That husband who was really, really horrible at wiping little baby bottoms?  He was extremely wonderful and incredibly wise at wiping up teenage messes, without leaving a trail of destruction in the wake.


What do you do when Daddy really is wrong

I'll tell ya' tomorrow.


  1. How true!! What a great post. My hardest area is home school. It is easy for me to puff my chest up and say "hey, that is my domain...and that's not how I do it!" But my husbands way is almost always better. We also HAVE to trust that God knew what he was doing when He paired us up. Great reminder...Thanks

  2. My husband once thanked me when our first was a baby. "Thanks for letting me be her dad my way."

    It meant the world to me.

    I want the kids to respect and look up to their dad. As long as his way doesn't cause bodily harm, I am good ;)

  3. LOL! My good friend and I were just talking about this very subject last night. We are both so busted! I'm printing this out to give to her tonight at bible study. I'll know she'll get a kick out of it. Thanks!


  4. I was so convicted while reading this and after the read - found myself thinking (not verbalizing) the way "daddy did something" was not "mommy's way of thinking". Ouch!!

    I apologized (while in tears) to Scott as soon as I had the chance - he laughed and said "we'll just the conviction continue to sink in"... meaning it had been so true - how he feels my displeasure way too often.

    I learn so much from you, Mindy. By the way... I'm currently working on a bag from some of the fabric you sent me. Currently is a relative term...right now - sewing is not so much. Thanks for your comment and prayers.

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  6. As I read the story about Jana tattling on Scott all I could think about is that I can totally picture that happening at Jana and Aaron's house now. I can totally see Brooke there to tattle on Aaron about changing a diaper wrong or doing the dishes wrong.
    Also a really encouraging post always a good thing to remember even before the kids come along we learned a lot about this in our premarital counseling last year. It is hard to remember that we don't want our husbands to be just like us and do things just like us. There is no use having two of me one is more than enough I need Josh for the man he is. I find myself trying to tell Josh how to drive my car when I really don't need to he can do it his way and it wont hurt a thing, but still not easy to do. Also telling him how to clean the house when I should really just be grateful that he helped me out when he saw it was a busy week at work and I needed the help around the house. After all his way of clean is better than the cleaning I can give it some weeks.

  7. I have struggled with this too. Especially when I went back to work part time when my youngest was three months old. I wanted a full day's itenary from my husband, what time did she nap, how many bottles, ect.
    Finally, he told me. Quit asking. It makes me feel like you don't trust me. Just know she's fine when you aren't here.
    That's when I had to let go and stop. And he's right. She's a happy 20 month old who loves us both.

  8. Thank you for this! Such a good, needed word!

    I hope and pray to really learn these lessons early, and remember them long! Thank you for passing along wisdom!



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