“‘Does your husband help?’
‘Does he give you breaks?’
My time in hospital, I was asked this question by friends, doctors, psychiatrist, the list was endless.
While I was away there were so many offers to cook for him, help him out, watch the kids… take them for a night so he can get a rest. Like the load was noticeably huge so there was support there ready. For HIM.
‘What an amazing dad to step up. You’re so lucky.’
It’s crazy because all of that I needed. I needed that support. Even just hearing how amazing I was for something I did all day every day.
But he never had to step up, in fact he was already up. He was acting like their dad. Being their father. Getting up in the middle of the night, feeding bottles, changing nappies. And I hate to say that, to buy into it, to admit I’m ‘lucky’. To say I haven’t had to do this alone. I even feel guilty when he takes the kids out and I can relax. Especially now as he is doing it so much more for the sake of my mental health. Because then why should I struggle? But it’s simply not the case.
It’s not perfect, nothing is, he will never get it like I do. He works, I don’t, we will always think the other has it easier. We have our frustrations and our problems. Sometimes I’m not a great wife, sometimes he isn’t a great husband, but he is a wonderful father.
This is why we need to celebrate dads and mothers. Mothers for all they do, and admire them for every day they step up, for all the hard work they put in without anyone fawning over them and offering help. And for dads, to show the world, our sons and other men that this behavior of acting like a dad isn’t a gift or a favor. It’s a given.
He isn’t babysitter, not a part timer. He is their dad. Mothers don’t need help, we don’t need breaks, we need cooperants. They need fathers to be fathers.”
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