The author of a new parenting book is dishing out controversial advice that I agree with.
As a parent there’s one phrase I hear way to often: “I can’t believe he does that.”
“He” being my fiancé and “that” being any generic parenting or household duty.
These are regular conversations in my life. If fact, I have them at least once a week, if not more.
Me: “Oh the boys are out kicking balls with their dad at the footy oval.”
Friend: “I can’t believe he does that. My husband would never do that.”
Me: “He’s taken the boys to the beach for a while, I’m home just getting some work done.”
Friend: “Wow. On his own? I can’t believe he does that.”
And it goes on. I could name a thousand things my fiancé does with our children that result in that exact same response. What exactly can’t they believe? That he is willingly an active parent or that I willingly let him be an active parent?
Author of the book Calmer, Easier, Happier Boys, Noël Janis-Norton believes fathers have a greater influence than their mothers on how boys turn out as adults. In an article with the Daily Mail UK Janis-Norton, a parenting and behavioural specialist and former teacher, said that the reason we have problems with this is that too often mothers find it hard to back off and let dad take control.
“Mothers need to allow dads to be dads and to have their own relationship with their children - and in particular with their boys - without trying to micromanage,' she says.
In what may be the hardest, and toughest, best advice ever given to mothers Janis-Norton says we all need to grit out teeth, smile and nod and let fathers make their own mistakes in their parenting life.
That means if the kids are wearing odd socks, or the wrong colour pants or they were given the wrong lunch, us mums just need to back off and not say anything.
“The gritted teeth part comes because mums assume they know best - but actually none of us are perfect. We’ve got weaknesses too. We’re not doing it right all the time. So really we shouldn’t be judging the dads!”
My fiancé is absolutely active in the kids’ lives but even this hit me hard. I know I absolutely flipped it the time he washed the navy school shorts with the WHITE school shirts and the time he gave them two sandwiches and extra treats in their school lunches.