You know he's a good father when....

…after the kids have gone to bed, you hear your 3yo calling from the stairs. Your husband immediately gets up to take care of it. You hear voices being raised and then your husband comes back in, obviously irritated. “What happened?” you ask, and your husband snaps, “She’s just trying to push my buttons.” You respond gently, “She shouldn’t be able to push an adult’s buttons. It’s not a power struggle between the two of you,” and wonder how to tell him that his daughter just misses him without hurting his feelings. While you’re thinking, he goes into a tirade about how frustrated he is with the 3yo, and how hard it is to put her to bed lately. You say, “I think you’re taking it the wrong way. You’ve been gone a lot lately, and she doesn’t do this when you aren’t home.” “Then she’s only doing it to me!” he says… then gets quiet. A second later your husband gets up and goes upstairs. When you head up to change into jammies 20 minutes later, he’s not in your room. Instead you find him in the 3yo’s room, both asleep, his little girl snuggled tightly in his arms.

Moments like that remind me that men don’t always parent like their own fathers did. Dave’s a great dad, and it certainly isn’t the influence of his POS absentee father whom I have never met, nor any of the temporary substitutes he had along the way. Dave’s a great dad because that’s who he is….. and I bet Gabby will have no problems going to bed tonight, either.

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