If you were a fly on the wall at my house, you'd be sure to hear your share of fussing, complaining and whining. Maybe even a slammed door or two.

But enough about me.

In the pressure cooker that's parenting, I have exploded more than once. And it's harder to clean up than spaghetti night with a toddler.

So after years spent indulging in fruitless self-flogging, I finally let go of my obsession with getting it all 'just right.' I confess...I'm not a perfect parent.

Whew. That felt good.

Now, when my son saunters in with his 42nd tardy of the school year, I let it go. When I hear myself hollering "Whatever!" at my teenage daughter, I move on.

Having it all together is overrated anyway.

And I've determined not to waste God's grace. I'll never get it just right. You won't, either. So read on, sister. If you see a little of yourself in me, I hope it helps to know that you're not alone. Nope. If you're a mom, face it. You're never, ever alone.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Male Bonding

It was a seemingly simple question.

As the home’s resident sports fanatic, my husband is in charge of all things athletic in our family. So when Molly recently needed new soccer cleats again (poor child, she may actually soon exceed my honkin’ size 9-1/2 specimens), Mike asked her if she wanted to go with him to pick out a new pair.

Molly (with a deep, dramatic sigh): “Do I have to?”

Dad: No, you don’t have to, but I thought you might want to.

Molly: Okay, but do we have to go now?

Dad: No, but we have to go soon so we can be back in time for dinner.

Ten minutes pass.

Dad: I'm leaving. Are you coming?

No response.

Dad: Molly?

Molly: I’m just finishing up a conversation on Facebook. I’ll be there in a little bit.

Dad rolls his eyes and leaves.

Me: Molly, you know that wasn’t really about soccer cleats, right?

Molly: Huh? What are you talking about?

Me: Your dad just wanted to spend some time with you. The soccer cleats were just a way to do it.

Molly: Oh, well, geez, I didn’t know that. Why didn’t he just say that he wanted to spend time with me?

Sigh. Such is the dance between dads and their tween and teenager daughters.

It wasn’t so long ago, that Mike and Molly's relationship was sweet, relaxed, effortless. Then seemingly overnight, daddy’s little princess became a bit of a pouty, preteen pill. And "sweet" soon became sour and surly.

The first male relationship a girl has is with her father. And learning how to relate to Dad even as she’s learning to assert her own independence is an important skill that she’ll need to build healthy future relationships with boyfriends, husbands, employers, friends and teachers. Most importantly, a good connection with Dad also helps her establish a healthy view of and relationship with her Heavenly Father.

One of my girlfriends and I were discussing this topic the other day and decided that we need to be deliberate about teaching our daughters three things about men that will save them years of headaches, heartaches and hours in the therapist’s office:

1. Listen.
Men want to be heard, noticed and appreciated. A little bit of understanding goes a long way.

2. Respect. Most men crave respect more than anything else. It makes them feel valued and honored.

3. Show interest in what interests them. Last night, Molly voluntarily joined her dad in watching the Yankees/Rangers playoff game. He was downright giddy.

All those things empower men, but they give women power, too. There's not a whole lot a man won't do for a woman who genuinely makes him feel honored and appreciated. No nagging, whining or manipulating necessary.

Heck, he may just take you shoe shopping -- even when it's not soccer season.

What are some things you think are important to teach our daughters about men?
Melinda

13 comments:

  1. No daughters here. :(

    But, I could probably use some lessons for myself! LOL

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  2. Never raised daughters but my relationship with my own father is simply awesome. He's an amazing man and I was truly blessed to have such a wonderful dad!

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  3. I pray my daughter has and keeps a good relationship with her dad. It is so important! :O)

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  4. My husband already has a laundry list of things he wants to teach Sweet'ums about men. It's rather cute, actually. As for me... I want to teach her magazines (and tv for that matter) know a lot less about men and relationships than they'd have you believe, and she'll get better information if she just asks her daddy or her guy friends. Another thing is that men tend to respect women who respect themselves.
    This was a really good post. It's definitely food for thought! I'm glad your hubby got some time with Molly later on.

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  5. Oh, to have a daughter, Melinda! But raising four sons has taught me they do value the things you've named. Very wise of you to enlighten your daughter.

    My dad was the best. I miss him to this day. Always a smile and a chuckle, pleased with my best no matter what that was.

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  6. This is so great Melinda. Good advice here. I sincerely hope my daughter and husband develop a close relationship. I know there are years ahead of us but like you, I will do what I can to foster that relationship :) I hope she knows how lucky she is to have such a loving and caring Dad, just as your daughter does.

    I'm so not looking forward to the tween/teen years. But...there is nothing sweeter than seeing your daughter and husband sharing a special Father/Daughter moment.

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  7. I commend you for sharing such an important lesson.

    I grew up without a father figure in my life and I am sure it has affected many aspects of my life.

    It is wonderful that your husband is so in tune and willing to invest in your daughter now!

    What a blessing, not only to your family, but to future generations!

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  8. Yes I have a five year old daughter and my she does look up to me, it is quite an event to fetch her form pre school and get greeted wiht such enthuisasm...I dont know about boys, but raising a girl is so very different.

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  9. As a father of a teenaged girl, I believe the best lessons about men come from their fathers.

    The lessons are unwritten and often have no words. They come from the way a father treats the girls mother. Treat the wife as you would want your daughter to be treated by her husband/boyfriend. Tenderness, respect, honesty, faithfulness, and with dignity. Help around the house and make sure you treat the relationship as a partner ship.

    I think those are the lessons that they should learn

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  10. I try to teach my daughter to respect her father by always being respectful to him. I don't want to be one of those moms that complains about Dad when he's out of earshot. I think that's bad for kids, boys and girls both.

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  11. Oh Melinda I just love this! My hubby and daughter have a good relationship so far. I think one of the best lessons is for daughters to see how their dad treats their mom. It sets a good standard in their selection of a future mate!

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  12. Melinda I just LOVE this post! My hubby & Annie go on dates to Starbucks to chat:) It is very cute :) But I know someday she'd rather go with her friends :) Molly made me smile :)

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  13. That is so true! That was a great post. I just have two sons and I appreciate it even more when people encourage others to respect men. That's what I want for my boys and for my husband. Thanks for encouraging me to be better about it. :)

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Now it's your turn to "Come Clean"! Tell me what you think! I love to hear from you!

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