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.
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.