Nurturing Fathers Exist – Or Is My Husband a Rare Gem?

by Melanie Edwards on June 16, 2010 · 55 comments

in Parenting

Father and Daughter

My husband is a very attentive father – always has been since our daughter was born. He is known for making up silly songs and stories with our 4 year old. He’s also not afraid to don a fancy feather boa and tiara – whether attending a tea party or just playing dress-up. He also takes good care of our daughter and I can always trust that if I’m away, she’s in good hands.

Now, this may sound like nothing out of the ordinary to you. He’s her father. Of course, he should be attentive and caring, right? While I agree, it seems to be something that surprises many friends and family members. My mother has often been told, “Your son-in-law is a really caring father, isn’t he? So-and-so’s husband doesn’t play with their kids like that!” They are surprised to see a father doing, well, what a father is supposed to be doing – playing, talking, and interacting with his kid.

Apparently, not many men do this with their kids? Or perhaps, only the men in my immediate circle of close friends and family? Maybe it’s just a cultural thing?

I know that growing up our father was very much a provider. He made sure our family was taken care of, but I don’t really remember him playing with me. My papi is the definition of an old-fashioned Puerto Rican man and to this day I am not able to talk freely with him – with the exception of finances. Finances was something he made sure to teach me. How to balance a checkbook? He was all over that. Talking boyfriends? Eh…you better go talk to your mom.

On the contrary, I can see my baby girl being fully comfortable in sharing information with her daddy about her first period or boy trouble. At least, I hope their closeness remains through those years and that regardless of how he may feel, she’ll be able to come to him as much as me.

But, in these early preschool years, I’m baffled as to why my husband’s fatherly behavior is perceived to be so rare. Why are so many women surprised to see him go beyond the “goofy-dad” role and see him actually nurturing, caring, and tending to her?

Do you find that men you know are hands-on fathers or play more of a supportive background role?

Photo provided to Melanie by Mariana

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