The See-Saw Effect: Balancing the Daddy and Hubby Roles

There are many things I was never told about, when it comes to parenting, before I had to experience them for myself. Perhaps it was intended this way because, honestly, the subject I am trying to tackle today is not an easy one. It is probably one of those things I am better off experiencing before the advice rolls in because it is not really something that someone outside can help with.

There are two definitive arguments that surround the topic of balancing being a dad and balancing being a husband. There is the side that says “Children don’t change your relationships, they only make them stronger” and “Children change your entire life and nothing is ever the same again”. Me, I’m with the latter of the two arguments. When you have children, it’s like signing a new job contract. The terms, conditions, and privacy clauses all change, and life starts all over again. Children are not just little beings that grow up in our house. Taking care of them is a full time job of itself. One, that you will never get paid for.

My wife and I had been married almost a year when our first child was born. We were still kind of riding that high of the “we just got married, life has never been better, and things couldn’t be more perfect” when that little pregnancy test told us that it would all change. Of course, times were a little harder for us then, so there was just as much stress as there was joy, but no matter, we were starting to add to our family and start a new life by creating life. Two years and 6 days later, we would have our second child and life would once again start over for us. Now, we would no longer be a family of three. We would be a family of four, with new challenges, and new routines. We would have new responsibilities and new stresses.

At that point, the see-saw tipped, and the back and forth motion began to get stronger. The balance of trying to be the best dad and best husband at the same time was upset, and so was I. To a great extent, I still am, which is why I write this today. It’s a difficult question to answer, there are a strong two-sides to it, and I have even asked many dads in the past to answer it. And this is where I ponder today. Which is more important: being a husband or being a dad? Please feel free to share your thoughts and answer in the comments below.

To me, the answer becomes clearer a little bit at a time. It is of great importance that I strive, strain, and try my best to be the best damn dad I an be for my children. It doesn’t matter if I am the greatest dad in the world, just that my children think so. It is of great importance that I strive, strain, and try my best to be the best damn husband I can be for my wife. It doesn’t matter if I am the greatest husband in the world, just that my wife thinks so. But is it possible to be good at one and not at the other?

My children look to me as the male who will influence them the most on things like love, relationships, understanding, sacrifice, support, mutuality, trying, forgiveness, failure, and success. My wife will look to me to be the best of all of these for her as she will need me to be. I look to my wife for the same, as I will need her to be. Being the influence of such strong topics to such strong willed and minded children is a daunting task, and never easy. And when things get rough, they get rough for everyone. When we are hurting, my children are hurting with us.

So the answer, I have to be both. I have to be love, relationships, understanding, sacrifice, support, mutuality, trying, forgiveness, failure, and success and I have to be the example of those things as well. If I am setting the wrong example, I am probably being the wrong husband. If I am being the wrong husband, I am probably being the wrong example. So the see-saw tips back and forth, but with a little more ease. I’m never going to be the perfect of either, but I can keep the rocking to a minimum. Those relationships are too important to let slip, and too intertwined to let go.

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John Taylor

JohnTaylor is the proud dad to two wonderful kids: Little Man(5) and Little Girl(3), and also the honored husband to The Wifey who has been gracious enough to tolerate me for 8 years and counting. This adventure into dadhood started back in 2007. Since then, no turning back. I am along for the ride, and learning every moment of it.

4 thoughts on “The See-Saw Effect: Balancing the Daddy and Hubby Roles”

  1. I think you are right they are intertwined we forget that they do have very different responsibilities. 

    Some actions will affect both relationships in the same way and many others will do the opposite. 

    I guess just the fact you are aware and concerned about this demonstrates you are already doing a great job! 

  2. We always said a child was in our 5 year plan — 2 days after our 5th anniversary, mission complete. Looking at this almost 3 years later and no more as of yet, I think your pondering is a struggle of both moms and dads with no easy answer.

    I look at it like this — by being a good husband, I am being a good example for our son and by being a good dad, in part, I am being a good husband. My wife and I have talked about this — the harder we try to make things the way we think they “should be” the more we fail. Making the best of even the worst situation — now that will always have upside.

    Sure, sometimes date night fails due to an unexpected cold and sometimes playtime is disrupted by a tantrum, but I wouldn’t trade any of it for all the surprises that happen along the way like an unexpected day of sledding, a new word, or sharing a glass of wine while we make dinner and our son makes a terrible mess. 

    One. Both. Some days I am better at one than the other, but I think it all evens out in the end if you try your damnedest and simply learn to appreciate it all. 

    Like Raul…I think the fact you are even thinking about it says it all.

  3. I think the number one priority is to be the best husband you can be. Like you said, stresses in your marriage ripple down to your children, and it is very difficult to be the best father if your marriage is sinking. Children will always learn best by example, and since some of the most important things that you can teacher your kids is how to make and sustain strong, lasting, and committed relationships, what better way to teach them than by modeling that with your partner. My children learn respect for others, even through disagreement, when they watch my wife and I interact with love and respect. They learn about sharing, compromise, trust, and teamwork. They see us model sacrifice and responsibility. They experience love.

    Obviously time should be spent nurturing specific relationships with each child as well and much of our marriage is dominated by our children. And being a great dad isn’t necessarily a natural outcome of being a great husband. But it starts there. And both spouses will parent better when they can lean on each other for love, patience and support.

  4. Well, you see, what you gotta do is…. Well, your kids, I mean, you gotta…..Then, your wife, you know, she’s the most……. ugggghhh. Why did I comment again? Awesome post. It’s so hard to balance, so hard to be everything to everyone. It’s one of the biggest issues that we face. When time is thin, where do we put our attention? I echo the other’s thoughts in that as long as you are asking yourself this, as long as it is a thought in your mind, then you are on the right path. Each scenario is different, and there is no clear cut answer

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