As a mother, it is easy to feel threatened or sad by your son having a strong relationship with anyone other than yourself. A father-son relationship, while unique and vastly different, can play such a critical role in a son’s life. From the moment I met my husband, I knew he would be an incredible father. While I would imagine it is easier for a “stay at home dad” to establish these relationships, my husband continues to prove to be a very successful businessman, and working 50-60 hour work weeks would never stand in the way. Today having a 6-year-old son is something I am grateful for, proud of, and hold very close. Tyler and Jim have a bond that is unbreakable, and I truly believe in my heart is rare and amazing. Some dads DO jump on the opportunity to spend the quality time, like Jim. At the same time, others may need the encouragement or extra push.
1. Encourage and Support the time
It is important to not only encourage this time but also support it. Again it is easy as a mother to fear or forget how impactful this time can be. A father-son relationship builds strength in boys that can be critical to raising a well-rounded child. Even if there is no father in the picture, an uncle, family friend, or neighbor can be just as helpful. Supporting the time means not only being okay with it but also coming up with ways for it to happen. Realizing it is just as important as a mother’s time. Some tips to assist with this would be using this time for yourself (and let’s face it, every mom loves a little ME TIME!) Leave the house and go get a manicure, go for a walk, or simply just spend some time reading your favorite book. Use it as a time for self-care!
2. Create Projects and give assignments based on things your son loves (and things that will help you!)
Tyler loves to be outside, as does Jim. Therefore I love giving them all the projects that have to do with being outside. This could range from planting some new flowers, washing the car (which is always a hit!), or stringing lights! Not only does it help you, but it also makes the time super productive and fun. Let’s face it; men sometimes need a little direction when it comes to helping out around the house, so giving them specific jobs to complete is the perfect way to encourage! Also, there is nothing wrong with your son learning to not only help out around the house but also the simple idea of teaching responsibility! Again raising a well-rounded child! There are very few things that excite Tyler, and to be honest, Jim as well, more than going outside and washing the car or hanging fun twinkle lights. Recently Tyler dug a hole in the lawn (searching for gold!), and when Jim came home, they decided to use that hole to plant a baby tree in the name of my father, such a great message and time spent I was so grateful for! A random hole in my lawn turned into a forever memory!
3. Invest in boy toys!
This does not have to mean breaking the bank. I have purchased some things along the way that have proven to be huge hits for “the boys” to play with even at night! Everything from remote control helicopters, drones, remote control cars, and footballs! All things that I can absolutely do with Tyler, but he prefers to do with dad, and I love that! I had no idea that picking up a $12 remote control helicopter would turn into hours of time spent on the lawn with Jim after work and school! Sometimes it’s the little things! The best part was Jim actually bought his own matching helicopter and drone, which Tyler could NOT have been more excited about. Purchase one or two; either way, it’s bonding time that, to be honest, revolves around something I am not great at!
4. Create Tradition
Make sure you are emphasizing how special this time is. In our home, Jim has established routines that are super special for him and Tyler. One example is that they LOVE taking their remote control cars over to the train station parking lot and racing them together. It is something that they both enjoy. Tyler will jump up and down, begging to go at even the slight mention of it! That excitement alone makes it worth it!
We recently added LED lights to the top of our trampoline, and after dinner, they love to go outside and jump in the dark with the lights. We live on a dead-end street, and playing red light, the green light is also a huge hit. These are things that Jim really makes an effort to do weekly with them. Everyone loves to be able to tell stories about things they did as a child repeatedly. The hope is that these will be some of those! A tradition does not have to be something that was handed down to you or something that your parents did with you; YOU can start the tradition anytime! It’s a great time for them to talk about their day and bond. Small talk along the way opens their relationship and encourages it.
5. Most importantly, be grateful
It is not lost on me how very lucky BOTH my children are to have a father like Jim. Every day I see dads who work endless hours and come home and are just mentally and/or physically exhausted. Being married to a man who is so very invested in our children is something I could not be more proud of, and I make sure that he knows that. Marriages are hard work, and having children can sometimes make them even harder! Finding things to be grateful for and making sure you express that is super important.