The greatest compliment

By Published On: June 13th, 2012

Written by: Christopher Spicer June 12 2012 I know I’m […]

Written by: Christopher Spicer

I know I’m a good dad. I don’t need anyone to declare me “Dad of the Century” or reward me with a gold medal. Sure, I’ll take a medal if you’re handing one out, but I’m not seeking that type of recognition. I get my reward every time I enter a room my son is in and he responds by lighting up the entire place with his heart warming smile. I get my satisfaction through my son’s constant storytelling and laughing. But that isn’t how I know I am a good dad, because Everett doesn’t necessarily know how to judge that type of thing yet.

I know I’m a good dad, because my wife is an amazing mom. An amazing mom won’t allow any schmuck to look after their precious newborn. My wife is very particular about how things are done, especially when it involves things she is passionate about. Her baby would rank at the very top of that list. Yet she trusts me completely with Everett.

I know what you’re saying, “of course, she should, because you’re the father.” I realize this. I also am aware of how other families work. I’ve seen mothers who can’t leave their newborn for more than an hour, if they leave them for any time at all. If they do leave them with their husband then they’ll give them a 400 pound instruction manual that he’ll have to follow in detail—then compose an essay to prove he read it. I’ve seen mothers who are critical of every move the father makes, or won’t allow him to initiate an action without her approval. I’ve seen fathers that are nothing more than mere assistants to the powerful mother bear.

I looked after Everett on my own for five days while my wife was on the other side of the continent. I look after Everett by myself at least one night a week (but often two). I’ll often be left with Everett for a few hours in the day while Emily ventures off to complete a task. I’ve had many occasions where I am the only parent looking after our son. I wouldn’t be in such a position unless my wife gave me her golden endorsement.

I realize the modern dad is very different than the stereotypical dads of the past. Today’s dad is often far more involved in the parenting process than many of their dads were. I’ve heard stories of fathers that would never change diapers or become a puddle of flesh once their child starts to cry. I couldn’t even begin to count how many diapers I’ve changed and I’ve often been the person to calm Everett back to sleep. I know that most current dads are similar. I’m not trying to say I’m a super dad or anywhere near being special.

I still know that many mothers still have those grizzly bear instincts. They’re protective of their child. Sometimes they’ll even be cautious of the father and be just a few seconds away from snapping off his head if he makes one misstep. They’ll definitely not allow the baby out of their sight for a day or let alone, several days.

I have really long days working for clients and trying to land more. My work schedule can be extra difficult when I’m trying to meet a deadline while also trying to soothe an unhappy baby, especially since multi-tasking is not my super power. My work days have definitely felt much longer now that I need to take diaper changing or bottle feeding breaks. I’m beginning to miss the concept of free time that once existed, since now my life seems to either be work or looking after my son. But then I start to realize what exactly it means when my wife is off at Aussie Football and I’m left alone with Everett. It means she trusts me. She knows that I’ll do a good enough job to care for her beloved baby that she can spend many panic free hours away from him. This show of trust is the greatest compliment and sign of respect I could ever imagine.