From dad to dad

Posted by Pascale de Montigny on

I am the father of a little girl and stepfather of a big girl. When my youngest was born, I took paternity leave. I have developed several tips for dads who are planning to take care of or are already taking care of their offspring while mom is working.

1) Trust yourself

It's that simple ! The loss of trust will get worse if we try to comply with everything we are told or read on the internet. We will end up downright suffering from the syndrome of the impostor. There are a thousand different ways to be a parent and a thousand different ways to be a dad. And all these ways are valid if our goal is the well-being of our children and our primary objective is to ensure the best possible future for them. You also have to allow yourself to be creative and have fun. That doesn't mean never asking for help. The mother-in-law is sometimes right...

 2) Try new tasks

I think it's important to focus on all tasks, especially those that are still reserved for women (and yes, even in 2020). Whether it's washing and folding clothes, planning and preparing meals, shopping for clothes, bathing, scheduling the week, doctor visits, etc. It's not about being an expert in each of your fields (my girlfriend will always be better than me at packing the suitcases), but it's good to tell yourself that we can do it our way and that it's is correct like that. Besides, I really have to practice doing braids. And my better half really needs to learn how to fix the wifi.

 3) Get used to being praised for no reason

This illustration of Cathon still (unfortunately) explains things well. Although we are generally less surprised to see dads present at home and even full-time dads, we too often consider rare or "special" a single dad who brings his child to the park, buys him clothes, take him to the clinic, change him or simply take care of him "adequately" in public. I have already been congratulated for changing my daughter's diaper and for not having left her alone in the car while I was at the convenience store… Conversely, mothers are easily and much more severely judged for a simple lack of attention for a few seconds, when often the family's mental burden is still largely on their shoulders. Times are changing, but perhaps not as quickly as we would like…

Credit: Cathon , Comic strip and illustration ( La Gazette des Femmes ).

4) Meet other parents

It is important to meet other parents who are going through the same situation as us, even if we are introverted! It's an excellent outlet and it allows you to tell anecdotes and share tips. I had created a group on Facebook to organize “playdates”. We had a lot of fun and it helped us in the most difficult times. But to come back to my first piece of advice, don't let yourself be influenced or judge others too much. We take what we like and leave the rest.

 5) Know your limits

Trying to be an infallible super dad is very bad for your physical and mental health (and also downright impossible). There is a balance to be maintained between our life as a parent and our personal life. Communication within the couple and with other family members is crucial here. You have to take time for yourself, agree to delegate when necessary and above all not fall into the trap of the “guilt trip”. Same thing for mom!

And you, what are your valuable tips for dads at home?

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