As parents we are sometimes quick to judge others for how they are raising their kids. We are quick to judge and give a misguided look to the Dad of a misbehaving child at the park. Ready to tell our spouse and our friends of what we just witnessed. Why are we so quick to come to a conclusion about the Dad and the child? We don’t know the whole story?
All we see is a child that is out of control for a short moment, hitting and screaming, Dad can’t control him for having a complete meltdown. However, we don’t know that Dad just worked another double shift to help pay for medical bills, and support 2 other kids. When his picks the kids, the baby sitter tells him that he has been missing him all day. He is tired and a little defeated, but doesn’t want it to show in front of his kids, he has to be strong for them. Before he has to head back to work for another double shift and the kids have go back to the babysitters, he decided to take some time out of the day to take their kids to the park, instead of getting some rest at home.
They were there for hours, enjoying a picnic, playing football, going on the swings together and telling stories. After a great day, He tells his young son he has to go back to work. This is the point when his son has a total meltdown, the point when the park is packed and all the other parents are there to witness it. To judge, not knowing the whole story.
To state the obvious, I’m a Dad. Becky is the Mom in our house. But what does Mom and Dad actually mean. In the basic sense, the definition of Mom and Dad are nothing more than titles when you have kids. But when it actually comes to raising kids, it means so much more.
Being a Dad is awesome, but not because I am their father. That was the easy part. Its more about the opportunity to be a provider, a protector, a teacher, a leader, a mentor, a motivator, a counselor, friend, a shoulder to cry on, and disciplinarian when called for. As much as I take on theses roles as their Dad, they are shared with Becky. Becky is also doing the same as her role as Mom. Parenting is about being both the Mom and the Dad. Being able to adapt to both roles.
The other day, a Mom was telling me has she was raising her 2 kids by herself with little help from the father. She stated that while she is the Mom, she is also having to be the Dad as well. I can’t imagine doing it all by myself. Growing up, my best friend’s Mom was doing the same. While she got to enjoy all the positives to parenting, the loss of the 1st tooth, teaching them to ride a bike, teaching them how to fish, and sitting proudly in the stands as they both graduated high school. She also had to raise kids by herself when time were tough, and when parenting sucked. She had to get them through puberty, peer pressure situations, defiant attitudes, slipping grades, etc.
Looking back, I never realized how hard it must have been for her. Having Becky beside me, I have taken that for granted since we get to help each other be parents. We can discuss situations (what ever they maybe) as they occur and come up with solutions together. We have the opportunity to parent as a team. It has taught us a lot, about compassion and understanding. We can lean on each other and we do. Through it, we have learned not to take it for granted and never to judge a book by its cover.
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