Life in Balance: How to create a balanced parenting partnership

A look at how to get dad's more involved in parenting. One expert says it's not so much about "getting" dads involved, but "letting" them.

In this week's Life and Balance we're taking a look at balancing parental responsibilities, specifically how to get fathers more involved in parenting.

A lot of moms complain that dads don't help enough.

But could it be that some moms might have themselves partly to blame?

Baxter Q. Andrews founded Idaho Dads Inc. because she's a mom and a grandmother. She says her son couldn't easily find resources to help him with her granddaughter.

"I am passionate about fathers being involved in their children's lives," Andrews said.

She says television commercials and media that portray fathers as clueless or incapable of fatherhood are detrimental to dads.  She also believes one of the best ways to help dads is to educate moms.  When mothers complain their partner doesn't help enough with parenting, it could be because they're putting up a roadblock, and often without knowing they're doing so.

Andrews says she often hears moms say, 'How can I get my husband to help more?'"

Her response, "Take the 'g' out of getting and put the 'l' in there for letting."  In other words, it's not so much about getting dads more involved, but letting them.

"It's not that the dads are not wanting to be part of their children's lives," said Andrews.  "It's more of us as women maybe not recognizing the opportunity to invite the dads into different events."

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Here's another way of looking at it, according to Andrews: Nature has engrained women to be the mother bear of families, the primary caregiver. So for many moms, they won't let dads be heavily involved because it's viewed as their job.

Picture-perfect images of motherhood on social media add to the pressure of women thinking they have to do it all. It's often done subconsciously, but the pursuit for that unattainable perfection is throwing off the balance of parenting.

"Instead of us, and present self included, nagging and saying what are you going to do, what are you going to do, maybe how are you going to do this," said Andrews.  "And maybe listen to the dads more instead of talking.  What are they saying, what are they talking about that we're not listening to?"

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According to Andrews the key is to have honest communication with your partner.  If he or she needs a little bit more encouragement to become more involved, she suggests sitting down weekly and make a calendar of responsibilities.  For example, one partner could be in charge of the school activities while the other is responsible for the sports activities.

Andrews also believes it's unhealthy for couples to "keep score" of responsibilities.

For more information about Idaho Dads Inc., click here.

Life in Balance is a new series from KTVB that looks at common problems many of us face in our daily lives, and simple ways to make positive changes.
 

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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