What do you think of when you hear the term ‘hands-on’ dad? If you’re thinking of someone who’s at the centre of all the baby chaos, elbow deep in diapers and someone who can burp a baby in under a minute, you’re only half right. Hands-on parenting means investing time, energy and effort in multiple areas of your child’s life. Here’s what it means to be one.
Hands-on dads share responsibilities – He knows that leaving everything to mom or the family because you’re the breadwinner isn’t the best way to care for your baby. Fatherhood is about everything from dealing with baby’s bodily fluids and doing half the household chores to sandcastles at the beach, ice cream, shopping and teaching your kids how to ride a bike.
Hands-on dads are brave enough to go against the tide – Nothing in life is certain, and there is no one way to raise a baby. But, having a baby somehow means that everyone feels the need to weigh in on your parenting skills. Hands-on dads learn early that this is their child. They learn the value of listening to all the advice, deciding when to take reasonable risks and when to err on the side of safety. Better yet, they communicate with their partner and always back them up.
Hands-on dads prioritise loved ones – You’ve heard the phrase ‘Family comes first’ But, being a dad is where this phrase can really mean something tangible. While mom has a larger share of baby duty, dad can take charge of the family’s health needs - things like medical insurance, researching the list of recommended vaccines, checking when they should be administered and what to do if you skip one or forget a dose. Great parenting means getting a solid head start. Forming a health plan and ask your doctor to answer any and all questions well before the baby is born is the best way to make your new family a top priority.
Hands-on dads respect their bonds with the family – Great dad’s make it their mission to help their partner and child succeed. They do this by ensuring they don’t take anything for granted. This means everything from helping with night-time feedings to protecting their children from diseases that are vaccine-preventable. The best parents remember and remind each other to grab every opportunity to make memories - cooking, camping, shopping, travelling or even teaching kids how to count while hopping down the stairs - it all matters!
Photo by Annie Theby on Unsplash
Hands-on dads are great leaders – Besides leading their families with fairness and empathy, involved dads have a clear vision for their baby. This means not sweating the small stuff, being affectionate with mama and baby as the years go on, treating children with the same respect you hope to see from them, learning what they want from their father-child bond and figuring out how to make it happen and above all, enjoying time together. It really goes by too fast!
The best things about being a hands-on parent is the fact that you and your family are always connected. You form the lion’s share of each other’s lives, and that is perhaps the most priceless gift you can give yourself and your family.