I met my husband when we were 18 & 19 years old, so we’ve had nearly a decade of growing up together. While most of our 20-something friends were in school, partying, and working their way up the career ladder, we were having kids…while also doing all of the above.
In the last decade, we’ve gotten the same number of Master’s degrees as we’ve had kids (two of each), lived in four different places together–three of them over a six year period more than 400 miles away from our families–and, between us, started three businesses and earned a couple promotions along the way.
There’s something really special about forming and transforming who you are and who you want to be while doing it beside someone you love who is doing the exact same thing. So far away from family, all we’ve ever really had is each other to rely on, which has brought us a great deal of teamwork & resilience.
Today, in honor of upcoming Father’s Day, here’s just a few of the things my husband has taught me about fatherhood.
1. Memories over materials.
There’s not much my husband needs to stimulate imaginative play with our kids. He gets them outdoors and offers physical play more than I ever could.
2. Stop and be present.
In my line of work, it can be hard to put my phone down. I work irregular hours and often have to communicate with clients during the times I expect to be with my kids. My husband models low-tech time with the kids, rarely taking his phone out of his pocket, and encourages me to do the same.
3. Coffee, beer, and a bit of humor will get you through.
This guy was the one that started my coffee addiction (ahem…lifestyle?) which just so happens to be great for parenting. And as for beer…I’m only a tasting connoisseur, not a shopping one. He ensures the fridge is always stocked with all the hoppiest, citrus-y microbrews you could ever want. Happy to say that while he rocks the classic dad-joke game, he’s got some genuine daily comedic relief going as well.
4. The gender equality problem isn’t just about women.
Discussion about gender equality frequently revolves around the fact that women are underpaid and overworked, juggling the household, children, and a career. It’s all true, but rarely does anyone mention the ways in which fathers suffer. Paternity leave is even worse than maternity leave, and men carry the burden of expectation to be primary breadwinners. My husband is fortunate to work for a company that provides paternity leave and generous vacation time, but there has been many a time he has wished he could spend more of the “work week” with our children.
5. The hottest thing dads can wear is a baby.
C’mon, what’s better than a dad wearing a baby?
Maura Winkler, founder of Fika Midwifery, is nurse midwife, labor & postpartum doula, and board-certified lactation consultant.