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Three Secrets Your Husband Won't Tell You
Hogan Hilling, Author of The Modern Mom's Guide to DadModern Mom's Guide To Dads

Jesse Jayne Rutherford
Hogan Hilling is the founder of Proud Dads, Inc., through which he develops and conducts expectant father classes for hospitals in Southern California and conducts workshops for mothers on fathering issues throughout the United States. A stay-at-home dad, he lives with his family in Newport Beach, CA. Jesse Jayne Rutherford, is a wife, mother, and freelance writer who wanted to help bring you the juicy secrets men talk about in workshops with other men, but don’t tell their wives. Together, they wrote
The Modern Mom’s Guide to Dads: 10 Secrets Your Husband Won’t Tell You (Cumberland House), and this article with three of those secrets, for readers of MetroplexBaby.com. Here are . . .  

 

 

                     Three Secrets Your Husband Won’t Tell You

Do you want to know what your husband is really thinking about pregnancy, parenting, and your marriage now that it has given birth? Want to know why your husband doesn’t seem to appreciate you or has taken on extra hours at work instead of helping out more around the house now that the household chores have quadrupled with the arrival of your kids?

You can ask your husband these questions, but most guys won’t let out a peep. Or, you can read The Modern Mom’s Guide to Dads: 10 Secrets Your Husband Won’t Tell You, a book borne out of fathering expert Hogan Hilling’s experience conducting fathering workshops where men have been frank about their fears, frustrations, and worries behind closed doors over the last sixteen years. Here three of those secrets divulged for Metroplex Baby readers:

1.      We Are Afraid We Won’t Be Able to Provide. While you are struggling to care for a newborn baby, is your husband burying himself in his work instead of helping out around the house? Do you feel like he’s run out the door and left you with a ton of work to tackle on your own? So do other moms, and they want to know what’s going on when their husbands act this way. “What on earth is wrong with my husband?” a new mom once asked me. “Instead of helping me around the house and bonding with our new baby, he’s taking on more work at the office and staying there late every night!”

The truth is, your husband may be doing exactly what he feels a responsible new dad should do. His desire to be a provider may be just as strong and long standing as your desire to be a caregiver. Fear of financial insecurity or worse, unemployment, looms heavily on any dad’s mind, and can cause him to spend more time at work than at home. So your husband may appear to be running away from parental responsibility, as many moms have noted. But if he’s running toward work, step back and re-evaluate the situation. Has he made little comments about the savings account lately? Has he wondered aloud if his job will be in jeopardy when he takes time off for the birth? Have you noticed him biting his fingernails while paying the bills? He may actually be taking on parental responsibility instead of running from it. In their own words, here’s what dads have told me about their fear of not being able to provide:

“I’m afraid if I take time off that some young buck or another employee will take over my position and/or be next in line for promotion.”

“The issue for me is not the loss of wages or taking the time off. It’s about the possibility of losing my job. Without a job, I can’t provide for my family.”

“My wife and I are struggling to make ends meet without a baby. I’m left wondering how I’m going to earn the extra money it will take to feed and clothe our baby.”

2.      We Can Take Care of Babies and Kids! Does it seem to you like your husband is not willing to help with the childcare? There may be something you can do about it . . . or not do! Let me explain: Most dads are ready, willing, and able to be involved with their kids and be a part of their children’s lives. Yet the dads in my workshops have confided that they often feel that their efforts in the childcare department are not appreciated by their wives, and in fact, their wives may have accidentally pushed them out of the child-rearing arena. As you’ll see in Chapter 7, this is a common issue in the household chore department as well. Dads actually want to lend a helping hand, but you have to let go in order for them to be able to do that. Here’s what they say:

“I wish my wife would treat me like an equal partner and not an assistant.”

“I think it would be nice if my wife would let me take care of the baby without giving me specific instructions. If something doesn’t work out with the baby, I’ll figure it out or call her for help.”

“Don’t pack the diaper bag for me. Let me learn how to do it.”

Getting bailed out of sticky situations, no pun intended, may be convenient for a dad at the time. But over the years, it results in resentment that gets articulated as, “My wife never lets me do anything with the kids.”

“So what can we do about it?” asked Theresa, a woman at one of my workshops for moms. Theresa was particularly frustrated by her husband’s seeming ineptness at childcare.

“It’s not what you should do, it’s what you should not do,” I answered. “Don’t pack the diaper bag for your husband. Don’t leave him a list of items to put into the diaper bag. In fact, don’t even remind him to take the diaper bag with him at all! He’ll learn after one or two outings how to do things on his own, and you won’t have to stress about being his personal assistant.”

3.      We Don’t Want You to Be “Supermom.” Have you ever heard of Super Mom? I have. Moms in my workshops have told me all about her. Here’s what I’ve learned about Super Mom: she has an immaculate, professionally decorated house; she has smart, beautiful children; she buys every material possession she or her family could ever want; she’s married to a man who is smart, handsome, fit, and makes six figures, and they get along famously; she has a lucrative side job of her own; she volunteers to help out at the kids’ school twice a week; and she still manages to look great in a swimsuit after three kids!

I want all of the moms in the world to know that this creature does not exist. There is no such thing as a Super Mom. If you think a person you know is a real-life Super Mom, she probably has high blood pressure, tons of guilt, loads of credit card debt, a surgically-enhanced body, never gets enough sleep, and often feels guilty, frustrated, and lonely. In other words, Super Mom is an illusion. In 2003, I asked dads in my workshops to name one thing they would like their wives to do to, and almost all of them wanted their wives to stop playing Super Mom. I got more responses than I expected! Here are just a few of the many, many comments guys made on this subject:

“I’d like to see my wife stop feeling guilty about making time for herself.”

“I’d like to see my wife take naps when our baby takes a nap and forget about cleaning the house.”

“I’d like to see my wife choose simplicity over multiplicity. Keep it simple  and don’t try to do what it would take five people to do. Giving the best of you is the most important thing that you can offer.”

 “I don’t like to see my wife try to do more than she is capable of doing.” 

Dads have a lot to say, but for a variety of reasons that Jesse and I go over in the book, they hardly ever feel comfortable expressing their true feelings. I guarantee you, though, those feelings are there, and they are honest, valid, and key to understanding your husband’s behavior and ensuring your marriage and family stay intact and healthy.

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