Dad's Role in Parenting — The Bump
June 2015 Moms

Dad's Role in Parenting

My dad sucked. He wasn't around; so, I don't really know what to expect from my husband as a dad. I'm a FTM and I feel like my expectations may be too high, because I treat him as if he should be a second mom, even after he comes home from third shift.

I know this varies across cultures and families, but my question is:
How would you describe the role of a dad?

Re: Dad's Role in Parenting

  • To love and care for the child to the best of his ability. Dads may not have as strong an instinct to parent initially and first time dads often lack confidence compared to the mom. If this is the case you can help him by giving him small chances to be successful gradually and build his skills. With practice many dads become as involved or even more involved in parenting than mothers. They can step up and take full responsibility as SAHDs if their wife works or is out of the picture.
    My dad participated a lot in raising me and my brothers especially while my mom was the breadwinner. We really benefitted from having both perspectives growing up. Every situation is different, but I think you should communicate with your particular man on what aspects of parenting he wants to be more involved with and where his skills lie. Start small and build on his strengths until his comfort level with kids increases.
  • You are right that it is such a varying question! I have a very egalitarian marriage and DH and I both work, but on differing schedules, so we both have considerable time as the "primary parent". We both take a role in cleaning, caring, shopping, discipline, play, etc. While he can't BF baby, he does take care of me in those intense early nursing days so I have enough to eat and drink.

    I suppose the more helpful question is, what will this look like in your family? A great tool for conversations is a book like this: 

  • Thankfully, I married a wonderful man who is sensitive, caring and nothing at all like my dad. I guess parenting is something that is difficult to put into words, especially when you've never experienced it. DH says we will figure it all out as we go.
    We're having a boy and I know how important it is for a dad to be a part of a boy's life. I was expecting my husband to abandon all his hobbies be at home with the kids as much as I am. That's unfair for me to expect that.
  • I grew up with two great parents so my take on this is a bit different - I don't see or expect to try to enforce any "mother role" vs "father role" attitudes. My mom carted us everywhere and made dinner (SAHM) but my dad always coached our sports teams and quizzed us on our times tables at breakfast - they presented a united front in terms of discipline and reward. DH and I both work so we split household and dog duties evenly - I suspect that our parenting will follow suit (although clearly BFing will fall on me since I'll have to reserve any pumped/stored food for daycare)
  • I think you and your husband need to figure how you want to parent and try to leave your past out of it.  And you can't think your husband is goin to be a "second mom"... he's the dad.  The role is different, but that does not mean the responsibilities need to be different. 

    When I was pregnant with my first, my husband and I had long talks about engagement with children and my expectations of him and his of me.  I told him that I would set him up for success (organize clothes, teach him how to make bottles, etc), but that I was not going to be the only parent in this house changing diapers, feeding baby, getting her dressed, doing laundry etc.  My DH is amazing when it comes to household cleaning and chores... but we needed that level set on the baby.  And you know what, he thrived!  He knew nothing about children and he is the one who sleep trained our daughter.  He is the one who has taught her how to ride her trike and go down a slide.  And eat hamburgers!  
    • Married 6/1/2012
    • BFP #1 - 11/17/2012 -  MC 12/10/2012
    • BFP #2 - 2/12/2013 - EDD 10/17/2013 - DD Born 10/10/2013
    • BFP #3 - 1/29/2014 - Ectopic pregnancy discovered 1/31/2014
    • BFP #4 - 9/28/2014 - EDD 6/4/2015 - DS Born 5/31/2015

  • have you guys seen that top for girls that says' dad just pair this with some black pants' it's super funny. I'm sorry op my dad was pretty awesome, my parents are happily divorced though. I was a little luckier than most because my parents worked a ton when I was a kid, but we lived close to my uncles and grandparents on my moms side. So my uncles taught me how to ride a bike, my granddad shots hoops with me and my dad helped me with soccer. I think I'm more spoiled because I've had so many great male role models in my life. My dh is a great guy and has a great dad, and while they have a very different relationship then I had, I think that part of that is because he's a guy. I'm worried about my husbands expectations of our daughter, while my parents had expectations of me, I think their greatest accomplishment was having me set high expectations for myself.
  • I had a nonexsistant Dad growing up so when I had my first 11 years ago I immediately went into super Mom role which ended up pulling us apart fast (it was doomed). Fast forward 11 years to a marriage, a very happy one, I do NOT want to be a "single" mom again. I expect him to be involved in all the day to day things.
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