I have long felt that dads need confirmation and reassurance in their role as active dads. To the extent that we allow ourselves to be defined as the colder less involved parents, we won’t get the respect or trust we deserve. It’s kind of a vicious cycle too, since the less moms, schools, caregivers trust us, the less we do to be trusted.
Here are a few proactive steps you can take to make sure everyone sees you as a key part of the mix.
1. Take control of the schedule. As anyone working in management knows, control of the status report is control of the project. If you run the calendar, you become the go-to person for your child’s schedule.
2. Repeat your name. Because everyone expects to develop the relationship with mom, teachers, camp staff, and even other parents might repeatedly refer to you as “Johnny’s Dad.” It’s up to you to repeat your name and even add something like, “Please call me Dave,” (if that’s your real name, of course!)
3. In stores and in doctors’ offices, make sure you are involved in the conversation and make everyone aware that caregiving is a joint project with your partner or spouse. You may have to repeat questions and concerns several times. It helps if you enlist your wife to actively involve you in the decision-making, soliciting your input on situations, but not deferring to you.
Dads are coming into their own, but depending on your situation, you may find you need to be a bit more insistent to feel less invisible as an involved parent.