What were we thinking! promote confidence and reduce distress in parents with a first baby

What am I grateful for?

By Kelly

What am I grateful for?

Being back at work, traveling is starting to become part of my usual quarterly routine again.  I’m so lucky I have a husband that has the ability to play both the roles of mum and dad while I am away.  Whilst mornings do not change for my husband, his nightly routine is completely up-heaved.  From cooking dinner for them both, to bath time, story time, play time and bottle time.  He never complains about the tasks at hand however it has helped him to understand the reason I am completely exhausted after a day of work when we finally sit down together at night.  So grateful to have a husband and father like mine.

Expert response from What Were We Thinking! expert, Jan O'Connell

It’s good that your family life is settling into a pattern that works so well for all of you.  Returning to paid work is one of the big decisions made by parents with young children. Increasingly, more dads are choosing to take leave from their paid work life to be the ‘stay-at-home’ parent, whilst the mum resumes her career and becomes the family’s income provider. With this reversal of the ‘traditional’ parenting roles, you may experience some of the behaviours and feelings that many fathers have when they return home from work. These can include dealing with pressures from the workplace as well as from your husband who may look forward to you being home to take over the next parenting ‘shift’ to give him a break from his full-time, unpaid job as a dad.

It is so beneficial to children when both parents build their parenting skills and confidence to share the important role of caring for and guiding your children’s development. The more active parenting role that each parent assumes in their child’s life, the greater is their understanding of the emerging temperament, personality and traits of your child, as well as an awareness of the demands, challenges and joys involved in day-to-day parenting!

Each parent brings different behaviours, attitudes and responses into their parenting style; this is largely influenced by your own upbringing and experiences and ideas. Your child will love each of you so embrace the differences as well as the similarities. Your husband has much in common with other mums and dads who provide the primary parenting role and how the time disappears quickly with often not much to show how busy they’re day has been! It is important for him to also look after himself and join into community activities to meet other parents and children to avoid social isolation.

Well done for acknowledging the effort and achievements of your husband in being a great dad and support for you. Respectful communication between partners is important. Praise and acknowledgement enable greater learning than does criticism or being told you’re not doing something properly. I hope that you also receive words and expressions of appreciation from your husband for the role you have both in the paid workforce and as a parent. 

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