Daddy Time and More Grace Mamas

I love my husband so very much and he is a great father. He's a fun guy, he's a great daddy, and he's just a great guy to be married to because of his easy-going and funny personality. 

See. Here he is riding an elephant with our boys. Why?
Because how often do you get the chance to ride
an elephant with your children

On a sunset dolphin cruise during vacation because our
3 year old became obsessed with dolphins over the summer
Trick or treating on a golf cart

A few weeks ago I had something planned for a Friday night so he took our three children (ages, 8, 3, and 10 mos) to the local Mexican restaurant that my children just refer to as Mexico! As in, "Can we go eat at Mexico tonight?" They love the cheese quesadilla and it is good food with fast service that is pretty much a must-have for any family with small children. 

Anyway, as he was leaving the restaurant and going to pay the bill a nice man came up to him and said, "Sir, I know that this must seem like a strange thing to do but I want to give you money to pay for your meal." He hands my husband $40 and tells him that he is a great father. My husband thanked him for the gift, pays for the meal, and even had enough money leftover to drive through Krispy Kreme afterwards. When he walks in the door he tells me this story and kind of chuckles and says, "Wasn't that nice of him, he just thought I was a great dad because I had the children out with me." My reaction....

You have got to be kidding me! 

Oh can I even begin to name the times and places I have been out in public with our three children quite often nursing one, helping the other go to the potty, and telling the older one, "No you cannot have that Lego set because its not your birthday or Christmas or any other major holiday so stop asking me." 

I've been the mom with the screaming kid in the middle of Target because he doesn't want to sit in the shopping cart, he wants to get down and push the shopping cart. So I get glares and stares and "looks like you've got your hands full" comments. No people, I am not abusing my child or using cruel and unusual punishment, I am just trying to get a birthday present for a party this weekend and some laundry detergent. And I KNOW that hearing a kid scream in a store is ear-piercing and annoying so I finally relent and let the toddler push the shopping cart but inevitably he will push it into the back of some nice guys leg and then I get more glares and stares and I say "I am so sorry sir."

I've been the mom at Chick-fil-A with my three children including a little itty bitty newborn and I had a man come up to me and tell me that my son was pushing his son in the play area and what was I going to do about it. I'm so embarrassed and more "I am so sorry sir I will take care of it" and come on kiddo, tell the little boy you are sorry it's time to go! (Let's not mention the fact that it is winter and we haven't been out of the house in three days and we're all just trying to keep our sanity so we take a little play date out of the house but so much for that idea.)

You know what, I've never once had a stranger come up to me and offer to pay for my meal or even tell me that I was doing a great job as a mom. And that is okay because I have lots of people in my life who do encourage me and even better I've got a great verse tucked in memory that says

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Cor. 9:8)

So I know that on the days that I feel like I'm not getting a lot of grace from others, God is reminding me that He is still giving me the grace to carry out the good work of loving and raising my children. 

Call it a double standard or the fact that we just give moms a whole lot less grace and a whole lot more grief. Meanwhile, a dad is left alone with the children for two hours and, glory be, he is nominated for best all around dad of the universe. Or, poor fellow was left at home tonight to babysit the kids while his wife went out. 

News's not called babysitting when its your own children. It's called parenting!

I've said before that my husband is a great guy and I am so incredibly grateful that he loves our children and chooses to spend time with us. And you know what I'm learning....

This is uncommon!

  • It is uncommon that a dad loves his family and shows it by spending time with them
  • It is uncommon that a dad chooses his family above any other hobby or extra-curricular activity
  • It is uncommon that a dad actually wants to spend time with his children and looks forward to coming home at night so he can play football with his sons or lay on the floor with his baby girl. 
  • It is uncommon that he takes them to the park or out to eat breakfast or to get ice cream all by himself, not because he has to do it but because he wants to do it. 

And it just makes me sad and mad at the same time. 

I wish there was not such a double standard that moms are supposed to do it all and that dads are just the "whatever" guys hanging out in the background. 

I wish that it was expected of dads to love their children and their families and to put them above everything else. 

I wish that Ephesians 5:28 which says, "In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself" wasn't just read in Scripture as a good suggestion but put into practice more often by loving Christian dads. I mean, what better way to love your wife then to lavishly love her children. 

I wish that we as moms would push and encourage our husbands to take the kids out more places and do more things with them one on one. They don't even have to take all of them at once. Just take them one at a time if that is a good starting point for you. 

As wives, we need to be intentional about letting our children spend quality time with their fathers and plan for situations that are manageable and comfortable for them. Our children need daddy time and I think that as women we get so used to "running the show" that sometimes our husbands feel inadequate and shut out. 

And ladies (and gentlemen) we need to give mamas more grace out in public. Yes, there are some sorry excuses for parenting out in this world and yes, they probably don't handle the situation quite like you would have at that moment but....

We really do have the best intentions and we are doing the best we can sometimes in the frozen food section at the grocery store when our child starts melting down. 

Why don't you offer to pay for her groceries or pay for her meal or even better than gold, give that girl an encouraging word. Why don't we quit assuming the worst about her and choose to believe the best. You would be amazed at what a small act of kindness could do for a tired and worn-out mom. Then one day she'll come home on cloud nine and tell her husband, "You are not going to believe what nice thing someone did for me today."  

And let me add, I so appreciate this nice gentleman giving my husband money to pay for his meal and complimenting him on being a great dad. He really is a great dad but I have to admit, I was a little jealous. SO I probably got some work to do on my own insecurities and need for approval but that's for another blog day. 

Be blessed and be a blessing!


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