For me, kids are still a long way off (if I decide to have them, that is). But the other day, I came across an article in the New York Times about Millennial fathers not becoming what they wanted to be.
At that moment, I really started picturing myself as a mother several years down the road.
According to the Times, men in my generation fully plan on being different kinds of fathers than their own dads were, but their hopes just aren’t panning out. Instead, they’re falling back into the traditional gender roles they initially intended to avoid.
This is apparently due to the lack of family-friendly policies in the workplace, which makes it difficult for couples to maintain the egalitarian relationships they’d planned on before having kids.
When I imagine my own future marriage and life with children, I definitely have hopes my husband and I equally will share our responsibilities of household work, raising kids, etc. Realistically, I understand there’s a good chance this will not be the case.
After all, it’ll be much easier for me to take time off when I have my baby than it will be for my future husband.
And, as the article pointed out, women are more likely than men to take advantage of flexible work schedules and paid leave. So, when a kid gets sick, chances are Mommy will be the one taking the day off. It isn’t necessarily ideal for me, but that’s how it tends to go.
As I read through this article and began picturing my life as a mom, I also considered what I hoped my husband would be like. As it turns out, I’ve got a lot of wishes for the father of my future children:
1. I want him to be involved.
I want him to make every effort to be at our kids’ softball games, piano recitals, etc. Whatever they’re involved with, I want him there, even if it means missing some work.
2. I want him to be a good role model.
Kids emulate their parents, and I want my children to have a dad I’d be proud to watch them imitate.
3. I want him to avoid going behind my back.
I think there’s bound to be a few “Mom said no, so I guess I’ll ask Dad” moments, but when it comes to something serious, I want us to stand united.
4. I want him to do his part.
I don’t plan on being the only one changing diapers, feeding the kids or getting up in the middle of the night to take care of a crying baby.
I also don’t plan on pushing all of those tasks on my husband. We’re both going to have to put in the time and effort.
5. I want him to avoid making me the “bad guy.”
I don’t want to be the one disciplining, while he’s the one taking the kids to get ice cream. I don’t want him to avoid the “bad” and only partake in the “good.”
6. I want him to be open-minded.
Having an open mind is important in so many areas of life, so I imagine it’ll be especially important when it comes to parenting. I don’t want him shutting down every idea I have simply because it’s something he hasn’t considered before.
But I want him to offer his suggestions too. Maybe he’ll be able to come up with a genius way to handle a situation I never would’ve come up with on my own.
7. I want him to be patient.
There’s no doubt in my mind pregnancy and the stresses of raising children will amplify my craziness, even when I make every effort not to be that way. Kids, too, can be difficult to handle, especially on days when they’re feeling extra stubborn.
Dealing with so much craziness won’t be easy, but I hope it’s something he’ll be able to do.
8. I want him to avoid arguing in front of the kids.
The last thing I want to do is put unnecessary stress on my children, and arguing in front of them would definitely have that effect.
No kid wants to hear his or her parents arguing. If there’s an issue, I want to deal with it later, when the kids aren't within earshot.
9. I want him never to make the kids “pick a side.”
We’re not always going to agree, but that doesn’t mean we should split up and take different “sides.”
We should never attempt to have our kids pick one parent over the other. That’s childish, and it’s something I’d like to avoid at all costs.
10. I want him to put in effort, not be perfect.
There’s no such thing as perfection, no matter how hard anyone tries. I’m going to screw up, and so is my future husband. It would be ridiculous to expect otherwise.
I do, however, want him to try his best to be a good dad. In my mind, that’s what’s really important.