Lately, I have been thinking a lot about how awesome my husband is at juggling the never ending demands of being a working dad. And I told him that.
I also told him I think he is a really great dad. And then I started to reflect on why I felt that way.
Turns out it's not because he does the laundry, or goes to the grocery store, or orders new shoes for our daughter because he notices that hers have holes in them. It's so much more than all of the things that he does. When I discovered what it was that makes my husband a great dad, I wanted to share it with him, because its not easy to be a great dad.
Although this is a letter to my husband about the particular things that he does that I think make him a great dad, this letter applies to so many great dads out there. Because what makes a dad great is not about what he does, but how he makes his kids feel.
I say it a lot, but I want you to know that I truly mean it.
It's not easy to be a father. To provide for your family, keep your children safe and healthy, run full steam on little sleep, spend any down time you have running errands and doing chores. It's certainly not easy to be a great father. To balance your work and home life, guide your children towards being kind and empathic individuals, teach them about the world.
I see so much that you do in hopes of being a great father. But from what I see in our kids eyes, it's how you make them feel that makes you a hero in their minds.
So, thank you.
Thank you for waking up early many days and taking time to make breakfast with the kiddies before you head off to work. I notice you mindfully pushing the anxiety of your pending commute out of your thoughts long enough to allow our 3 year old to make his eggs all by himself, even though it'd be much faster for you to do it for him. He feels so proud of himself on these mornings, and glows after having one-on-one time with you right at the start of his day.
Thank you for making your way out of work and battling traffic each weekday in enough time to be home so we can sit down as a family for dinner. Our 3 year old often tells me to hold my questioning about how his day was until he can share it with everyone at the table, because he knows you are going to ask. The kids see that eating a meal and sharing stories each day as a family are both important and normal. That it is important to spend time with the people you love. That THEY are the people that YOU love.
Thank you for asking the kids to walk out to the mailbox with you after dinner each day. They look forward to these seemingly small moments because they love that you include them in all you do and say. They feel like they are the center of your life... because they are.
Thank you for taking time to tuck our kids into bed every night, even though this usually comes at a time when you are back on your computer finishing up your work for the day. Our 3 year old in particular loves that you are the last person to hug and kiss him each night. It warms my heart when I eves drop on your sweet conversations. You are so patient as you listen to him unload his thoughts from the day and ask you all the questions he has seemingly stored up for you. You make him feel as though his thoughts and questions are important, which helps to make him feel safe and secure with how he thinks and feels .
Thank you planning fun and special things to do with the kids each weekend. The adventures we have together as a family create so many invaluable memories. The kids love spending time with you, they love learning from you, and they love reflecting on the fun things that you show them and do with them.
So, thank you. Thank you for busting your butt each day at work so you can provide for your family, and for running errands, and doing laundry, and picking up the couch cushions that are all over the room after the kids make a fort. But mostly, thank you for putting in the effort. Thank you for making time. Thank you for being thoughtful. Thank you for showing them that you care. You make them feel safe, and loved, and confident. How you make them feel is why you are a great father. We couldn't be luckier to have you in our lives.
Katie Ramirez, RN, BSN, CLC
Born Happy, Owner and Care Consultant
Katie Ramirez is a Registered Nurse and Certified Lactation Counselor. She has spent more than a decade serving patients at major university hospitals such as Vanderbilt University and Penn State University Medical Centers. Katie now spends her time supporting and empowering parents of babies and toddlers as owner and Coach for Born Happy.
Katie is the proud mother of two beautiful children, Roberto (age 3), and Veronica (age 1). She has a passion for health, wellness, and happy children, and believes that, with the necessary knowledge and support, all parents can live happy.
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