Here’s to the dads that share parenting. No, I am not just talking about court ordered shared parenting (although that is included). And I am certainly not talking about dads that take their turn “watching” their own offspring. What I am talking about is something that I thank God for experiencing every day: true shared parenting.
Between our last name, home, finances, bathroom and daily adventures, my husband and I share a lot of things. But the most important thing that we share in is the raising and taking care of our girls. As a full-time working Mama, nothing is more — not only necessary — but so appreciated than a spouse who truly shares the parenting.
In our house, each act of parenting is not always fair or even. That’s not the way that shared parenting works; it is not a 50/50 split of each parental task. In fact, Paul does the cooking 95% of the time but hasn’t washed a dish in years. That is my part. Pretty much every night, I put the girls to bed, but he regulates the before-bed pottying and teeth brushing (so I get to blame every cavity on him, ha).
Pre-COVID-19 (and now that I am back at the office), he does both the drop off and pick up at the sitters. But I get them ready in the morning, make sure we are at the bus stop during the school year and pack the weekly sitter bag. Anytime I need him to, Paul will throw clothes in the washer and even switch the load to the dryer. But I can’t recall ever seeing him fold an article of kid’s clothing. However, I will hand him a full basket of mismatched socks to put together and he can knock that out of the park.
Through the years, Paul has changed his fair share of diapers and wiped many behinds — as have I. While typically bathing the girls is something I conquer, he has many times stepped in when I am busy. When a knee is scratched up or a finger pinched, both of us have come to the rescue kissing boo-boos and applying “baby girl gel” and bandages. At the Maylie and Reagan salon, Paul has had his beard combed and done up and I have had many makeovers.
Disciplining our girls is another very important part that we both contribute to. What I love the most about the way we tackle this is that we take turns being the bad cop and the good cop; we can read when each other has reached their limit (and we BOTH get there) but the other one of us just steps in and smooths things over. It is such a relief to not always have to be the one saying “yes” or always be the one saying “no.”
Because of Paul sharing the parental load, it eases some of the strain and guilt that I feel as a working mom. Knowing he has got them if I have to take a work call or am working late and that he is simply just doing his share of the parenting allows me to give just a little more at work.
But the best part about sharing all the parental things is we then get to share in all the love. The love poured into us from our children is the best part of being parents.
If both girls are cuddling up with me on the couch and daddy comes in and sits down, one of them always jumps up to cuddle with him. Either that or they invite him in and insist that we all four snuggle together on the couch. Since we are both so involved in the day-to-day stuff, the girls don’t hesitate to share with both of us all the details of their day and are comfortable enough to always throw their opinion out there to us. If we talk about doing a fun adventure, the girls want both of us to attend — they love outings as a family.
Shared parenting is not just a term for those raising their kids in different houses (although those doing so and sharing in all the tasks deserve the accolades just as much). But shared parenting is also a very important piece of a marriage; it’s falling in love over and over again with your spouse when they jump up and handle that one task that you just didn’t have the energy to do. It’s watching your child’s face light up when daddy walks in the room and knowing that they recognize that we are truly doing this together.
Thank you, Paul, for sharing in all the things — the work, tasks, giggles, poop, cuddles, nightmares, stories and, especially, the love.
Happy Father’s Day!
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.