I woke up today, had a sip of coffee and went to Facebook and saw my brother-in-laws status that simply read, "Mr. Mom". Enough said! He's an awesome dad who loves and is involved with his kids. I considered my day off as well, and remembered that I would have 5 kids in the house by myself. It was time for me to engage with my full-time, non-paying job... being Dad.
There are many men I've talked to who feel like taking care of their kids is an inconvenience, or is the woman's job. In my experience there are three reason that dads have a problem with being fully engaged with their kids.
1. Lack of Reward
: As men we like to see the immediate rewards of the time and energy we invest. The more we exercise, the better in shape we become. The harder we work, the more $ we make. Cause and Effect is a concept I am very comfortable with. The Answer: Embrace the fact that your full engagement/involvement reaps massive benefits in your children's lives for decades to come.
2. Perception of Inadequacy
: Many men I talk to just don't feel like they are very good at the parenting gig. The unfortunate part is that many moms don't give their husbands a chance to engage event in the child's infancy. My suggestion to the moms is let your husband do stuff, even if it isn't the way you would do it... and don't criticize their efforts. Dads, don't feel pressure to be a mom to your kids, just be their dad. They are looking for your strength, encouragement, and will see themselves how you see them, and communicate with them.
3. Not Stimulating
: Men like big trucks, hard hitting football, and powerful tools. So, when it comes to engaging with our children, it is certainly not testosterone producing work. I write this as I have a few potatoes in the Microwave. However, the problem for me is not that being fully engaging with my kids is not stimulating enough, but that it is too stimulating. It is hard to handle with poise the 3-year old fit, the brothers arguing and fighting over dump stuff, and the complaints about what to eat, no matter what you cook (or warm up in the microwave). And for us males, when the emotions of your kids get the best of you, just remember that they are kids and that in 45 seconds their mood will change anyway. Keep your cool and the big picture in mind.
Dads, just go for it. Your kids need your involvement and love your attention. You're smile and time wrestling with your 10 year old or tea-party on the floor with you toddler is the greatest complement you can ever offer your child. It equips them with the confidence to succeed in life.