Recently, the contributors to this site were asked if any of their husbands would be willing to give their perspective on what is like to be the father of multiples. Shortly afterwards, I was informed that I had accepted the invitation. All kidding aside, as a past contributor, I am honored and pleased to be able to speak on behalf of the other half, and hopefully, my answers will help bring understanding to many of the issues couples face when parenting a set of twins, triplets, etc. So here I am, Rosetta Stone to the male psyche, decoding the Martian language for the inhabitants of Venus, and putting an end to the myths of Multiple Parenting. Let the questions begin!
* What do you wish your wife understood about being a dad?
That I am always eager to help and to do my fair share, but often times, I just don’t think to do it. My schedule prevents me from assuming a routine so thinking about parenting does not always come automatically. There is a reason why no man refers to his “Paternal Instinct.”
* What have you had to “give up” to be a good dad?
Irresponsible living. From immature nights out with the boys, to vegging out on the couch, to driving a little bit over the speed limit, everything now has a consequence for someone else, not just myself.
* What don’t you miss about life before kids?
Lack of purpose. Since I adopted my oldest when I married my wife, my life before kids is also my life before marriage. I remember towards the end of bachelorhood feeling like all the things that I used to do for fun had become tiresome and pointless. I started to feel like I was not accomplishing anything with my life. Getting married/having kids changed that.
* How do you want to parent the same or differently from how you were
I want to instill the manners and etiquette I was raised with into my children, but I want them to be free to express themselves without worrying about what others may think. I think there is a fine line between being courteous of others and being true to ones’ self. Hopefully they will be able to define that line a little better than I did.
* How has becoming a parent affected your marriage?
Since we had our eldest when we got married, I will say that the multiples have reduced the big things, but not the little things that make our marriage so special. With less time, money, and energy, romantic dinners and expensive gifts have nearly gone the way of the dodo, but we have been sure to improve our communication. Also, we try to have “date night” once a week. Usually it is take-out and tv, but it is time for us and that is all that really matters.
* What character traits do you hope to instill in your children?
HARD WORK for when it would be easier to be good, but they are eager to be great.
DEDICATION for when the reward for that hard work is still just out of sight.
LOYALTY for when the right decision may be the most difficult one.
COMPASSION for when they need to walk in the other person’s shoes.
INDIVIDUALITY for when others want them to be just like the rest.
CONFIDENCE for when they are scared what’s in their heart may be wrong.
SENSE OF HUMOR for when they fall so that they can shake it off, tap into the above, and get themselves back up.
* What is the funniest/grossest thing that has happened to you since
becoming a dad?
My third of four, Ella, “projectile pooped” across the room as I was changing her. I feel that meets both criteria outlined in the question.
* How has having multiples affected your relationship with your other children?
What other children? Just kidding… I have done my best to make sure as little as possible has changed for my eldest. It has enabled me to acknowledge just how mature and responsible she is capable of being when given the opportunity and that, much like myself, she is deserving of a break.
* What about having multiples is different than you expected?
I don’t think I realized just how fast things can happen. I realized that I would have to watch James when he is walking so he doesn’t fall down, make sure Ella wasn’t near the outlet, and comfort Cameron if she wasn’t getting enough attention. I just didn’t realize that all of these happen simultaneously while I am on the phone with a telemarketer and 5 minutes late for an appointment.
If you have any more questions for our Dads, just leave a comment and let us know what you wish to know!