Hudson Valley Parent

HVP June 2015

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22 Hudson Valley Parent ■ June 2015 By HEIDI SMITH LUEDTKE P op culture doesn't appreciate dads. Sitcoms make fun of their diapering (in)abilities or por- tray dads as irresponsible babysitters who feed the kids pizza, ice cream and sugary soda while mom is out for the evening. Personal experience tells me there may be some truth in this. My own husband shows our kids zombie movies then acts surprised when they refuse to sleep with the lights out. Really. Stereotypes aside, it can be hard to move past the "mom knows best" mentality and make room for dads' different style of parenting. All moms can learn valuable lessons from watching what dads do best. Here's how: Dads are good with good enough Most moms I know struggle to drown out the nagging inner critic who says we aren't good enough. We feel pressure to keep the house (and kids) clean. Our to-do lists never get done. And it's stressful. Researchers at Auburn University found women are more likely to feel inadequate at home and at work than men because we're more perfectionistic. Dads recognize the 80 percent solution is often good enough. They can walk away from a sink full of unwashed dishes — without feeling guilty — to spend time playing with the kids before bedtime. Moms can't deny there is wisdom in this ap- proach. Dishes don't grow up and go off to college. Kids do. Being good with "good enough" doesn't mean dads deny their short- comings. Tina Bushman, co-author of the family discussion-starting book "Table Talk," says she has learned from watching her husband, John, address his missteps. "When it has been a rough parent- ing day, he will sit on the edge of our child's bed and explain that even though parents try hard, we aren't perfect," she says. "He apologizes if he got upset or said the wrong thing and asks forgiveness. It takes a humble dad to do that and I love him for it." Dads encourage active play Mud pies, snow forts and do-it- yourself science experiments are dads' domain, says Wendy Valderra- ma. "They do messy fun really well." Valderrama watches her 3-year-old daughter's princess wedding ball with prince Daddy every night. "He lets her take the lead and follows right along with her in the imaginative play," she says. Dads' passion for play is a joy to behold. When they aren't entertaining kids on their own level, dads expose kids to grown-up tasks and topics. A dad When father knows best 6 things dads do better than moms (Continued on Page 24)

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