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My husband walks in the door and gives me the look that says, “don’t ask”. Uh-oh.
He gives me a quick kiss, kisses the top of our son’s hair, then walks to the other room and closes the door.
Days like this are so hard.
And I always find myself feeling conflicted.
Can’t he see I need a break, too? But then again – I know his job is hard. Then again, so is mine. It must be nice to have someone to pick up the slack all the time.
And on top of that, I wonder if my child is going to be ruined because we don’t have the “perfect family”. Because Daddy doesn’t come home every day ready to be super involved with him. Because sometimes he doesn’t see Daddy for days on end. Because Daddy is married to his job just as much as he is to his mom.
I worry a lot about the effect his job has on our son and his relationship with his dad. I want them to be close. I want A to have a role model he can look up to.
Fortunately, that’s exactly what he has.
At times like this, it’s important to remember that he actually doesn’t need a perfect father to look up to… because he isn’t perfect. He couldn’t relate to a role model who was 100% perfect. What he needs is his father – flaws and all.
As he grows and learns how to interact with the world, he doesn’t need an example of someone who already has their act together, who has it all figured out. What he needs is someone who tries – every single day.
He needs to see someone sometimes succeeds, but also sometimes falls and gets back up. He needs to see someone who strives to improve and overcome their faults, even if (well, especially if) it isn’t an overnight process.
Besides – he already thinks his dad is pretty perfect. I mean, that might change when he’s a teenager, but I hear that’s common 🙂
There’s no way to be a perfect father.
There are plenty of ways to be a good enough father. And (as your husband sees on the job) there are way too many ways to be a straight-up bad father.
But a perfect father? Not possible.
The father who shows up, the father who wants to be good enough, the father who tries – that’s a good father. That’s everything your children need from a dad.
There are men out there who aren’t there, who don’t care – or worse, are straight-up abusive to the family they’re supposed to love and protect. Those are the fathers who truly damage their children – not the ones who just make the mistakes every one of us makes.
If your husband tries, he’s good enough.
I’m not going to lie: there are totally times I wish he was different.
There are times I wish he was more involved – even though it has way more to do with the mama’s boy we’re raising than it has to do with him 🙂 There are times I wish his work wasn’t quite so demanding. That he was more focused on his family (and would give me a break more often).
But – it is what it is. Neither one of us is perfect, and that’s awesome. It means we’re way better role models for our kids. It means they get to see not only two imperfect role models, but an imperfect marriage that they can grow and strive for – so they know what a healthy marriage looks like.
The most important thing I can do for my son is to support his relationship with his dad by showing him how much I respect him. By talking about him and how important he is to our family and to society. By explaining how hard he tries and how lucky he is to have a father like his.
Because truly – he’s everything my son could ever need.
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