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An attached dad


So often when people talk about attachment parenting they are thinking about the nurturing role that the mother plays. In our house, the mothering role has been an important one, but the fathering role has been critical too.  We are partners in raising our kids, not a lead parent and a second fiddle. I value the role that my husband plays in our family and I know our children do too. I wish society would place more value on the role men can play as fathers.

So as a father's day tribute, let me tell you what an attached dad looks like in our house:

  • An attached dad knows that real men use ring slings (or wraps, mei tais, etc...).

  • An attached dad parents his children to sleep by lying down with them and telling imaginative stories as they head off to dream land.

  • An attached dad trusts that his children will wean when they are ready.

  • An attached dad takes years off of his own career to be a stay at home dad when that is what works best for the family.

  • An attached dad uses tickle fights and monster attacks to elicit shrieks of joy and physical play.

  • An attached dad goes to his son at night and joins him in bed when he calls out and says "Daddy, cuddle me tight".

  • An attached dad puts his chores aside and spends the morning cuddling when his daughter says, "Daddy, I need you".

  • An attached dad understands that he doesn't need to feed formula to be an involved dad.

  • An attached dad washes the cloth diapers, over and over again, without being asked, so often that the attached mom can't remember when she last washed them.

  • An attached dad knows you can be firm and set limits without hitting or shaming your children.

  • An attached dad loves sharing the bed for afternoon naps.

  • An attached dad marvels at the personalities and abilities of his children and beams with pride.

  • An attached dad sometimes needs a break and in turn understands that the attached mom sometimes needs one too.

Happy Father's Day!!

What does an attached dad look like in your house?
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Reader Comments (37)

That just sounds like a dad to me. Except for the ring sling thing. Slings blow. Get that dude a backpack. :}

June 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBackpacking Dad

@Backpacking Dad: He has a backpack too. Two of them. ;)

June 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

@backpacking dad
Backpacks are for sissies.
Real men wear slings.
And get their face painted in public because their kid asked them to.

June 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermoosh in indy.

The attached daddy in my house would say backpacks and ring slings suck - pouch slings all the way!

June 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie/MobileMommy

Love it! Just read this to my husband, who has our 1 month old on his chest while I surf the net....and who also wore her all day in the mei tai while we ran errands :-)

June 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany

@moosh in indy
Backpacks rule; ring slings drool.

But what makes Mr. PhD in Parenting a real man is the yellow burp cloth. Only a real man can pull off yellow and barf in the same ensemble.

June 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBackpacking Dad

Attached dads are so proud to be wearing their babies, they don't care if the sling/wrap/backpack/mei tai/etc is pink flowers!

And my attached dad hubby enjoys his time changing the baby's diaper because it's time for the two of them to bond.

June 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

Oh yes... Happy Father's Day to all the attached dads reading this!

June 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

That's what dads do. No need to pin a label on it! My hubby doesn' t wear Peanut but only because they don't make ANYTHING in his size but while I wear her he carries the pink Hello Kitty diaper bag. Everywhere.

June 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

@Lauren: An extra long wrap should work with any size... :) (just trying to be an enabler)

June 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

That was really sweet! We ordered a card for my husband that was sort of similar, written in the style of a thank you list, and also created a photo book called The Best Daddy that explained what the best daddy does ("and of course, the best daddy reads to me. / Even when I want the same book over and over again" and "Sometimes he does silly things / just to make me smile" etc.) I can't wait to give it to him tomorrow.

June 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLynn

I was trying to come up with some ideas for a La Leche League meeting. Talking out loud I asked what common nursing problems a mom might encounter. And my husband rattled off several off the top of his head. So in our house an attached dad knows far more about breastfeeding than he could ever have imagined there was to know.

June 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

Dad takes turns making dinner and teaching his kids how to cook as well as how to clean and build things. Dad plays games with his kids when they ask and reads them as many books as they want. Dad listens and actively participates in discussions about parenting decisions with Mom.

June 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterduffnstuff

the attached dad in my household had his father's day early since his company are sending him away at the crack of dawn tomorrow :(
but he was into a ring sling long before i even got out of bed post c-section. he was the first baby-wearer in our house and wore his way thru a sling, a First Journey, a Baby Bjorn (it didn't last!), another couple of slings and a frame backpack. he's now 'graduated' via a bike trailer to a trailer bike, spending today hurtling round the town so i could attend the knit-in-public day event sans wee guy.
PS: we both used the frame backpack - does that make me less feminine?

June 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterebbandflo aka pomomama

This is what an attached dad looks like in our house...here's a pic of my babywearing hubby: http://familynature.wordpress.com/2009/04/23/multitasking/

June 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFamilyNature

But if he's wearing her then I can't wear her! That's OUR thing! :-)

June 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

Our little one calls out for Daddy cuddles at night too. Oh, and as others are commenting, the attached dad in our house likes to use a structured carrier (the ergo) and his shoulders for carrying kiddos.

June 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGreen Mamma

All that you said, Annie! I just have one to add: an attached dad takes control of cleaning the pump parts each night when mom comes home from work, and packs it each morning, so that mom can maximize her time with the kids when at home.

Oh, and he brings baby to the office when he's out of breast milk, either to pick up more ebm or to let baby nurse.

Attached dads rock! :)

June 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

Love your post! I was going to write the SAME thing as Elizabeth.. an attached Dad handles all pump and pump part maintenance. He also packs the daycare bottles and loads everything in the car so Mom can just focus on the kids in the morning.

An attached Dad comforts his 2 year old having a tantrum... an attached Dad drops everything to immeduately play and listen to his 2 year old with a joyful face even after working 12 hours then sitting in traffic for 2 hours due to a jackknifed semi.....an attached Dad stands up to his own mother when she says or does things which are negative.

Happy Father's Day!!!

June 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlina

The attached Dad in my household provided body heat to warm up our newborn (#4 born May 30) when her temp was low & I had passed out & couldn't do good s2s. The midwife wrapped a blanket around both of them so he could get her warmed up. And he often lies down with our 2 yo to nap. Or I will come home from an evening out and find him in our bed with the three older kids all asleep with at least two of them draped over him or literally lying on him.

June 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMargo

"An attached dad washes the cloth diapers, over and over again, without being asked, so often that the attached mom can’t remember when she last washed them. "
That would be at the top of our list I think -- he does the diapers 98% of the time!

that and most of the other items you listed!

I am blessed that my children have such a fantastic father!

June 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie

An attached dad is all of those things and more,,,, God Bless all of them!! What would we do without them

LOVE this post Annie! So happy that my girls have an attached dad as well :)

June 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGwen

Love the post!

In our house, the attached dad spent Father's Day, taking apart our bed so we can sleep on the floor as our baby moves in her sleep.

Cheers to all the attached dads out there!

June 22, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpantrygirl

Love this post. I also love that the girls have such an attached dad. He also does all of those things you've listed above,minus washing the cloth diapers.

June 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDarcel

In my house it's everything you listed. Just substitute dish washing for diaper washing.

June 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOlivia

Attached dad in my house is called simply a stay-at-home papa. Oh, and in my family our attached child sleeps happily in her own room in her own crib knowing that her attached dad (or mom) will come when she needs us.

June 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

Just found this blog and LOVED this post.

In our house the attached papa does so many things, but one thing I especially like is when the attached papa cuddles our little babe so that mama can get a few hours of uninterrupted, solo sleep.


June 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle

Such a wonder and delight to celebrate attached dads everywhere!!!! I love when my husband does the most surprisingly tender and beautiful things with our wee ones... it makes me fall in a love with him even more.

Attached dads should be the norm in our world. I'm happy for mine and pray that everyone could have a papa willing to do whatever it takes!!!

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKatherine Marie

[...] an attached dad helps. If your partner is more than just a “babysitter” then the kids will feel [...]

An attached dad knows he doesn't need to feed exclusively breastfeeding babes *at all* to be attached. He can bring the hungry baby to mom to nurse and then do what we called "the death walk" round and round the yard deep into the night with the unhappy baby when nursing won't do it.

June 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJake Aryeh Marcus

[...] an attached dad helps. If your partner is more than just a “babysitter” then the kids will feel comfortable [...]

[...] wrote a bit about him being an attached dad for Father’s Day a couple of years [...]

Wonderful...I love this piece.

June 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLorette Lavine

G. rocked the sling for the longest time (until they were big enough for the backpack, but he preferred them where he could see their faces). He worked his schedule around so he could be home 2 days during the week while I worked, so we wouldn't need daycare. He also got into a fight with the NICU nurse 20 minutes after A. was born - they wanted him to leave because it was the change of shift, and he told them, "My son is 20 minutes old, his mother is in recovery and I'm not leaving him. You need to find a place for us to be." I am sooo grateful he's on the same (attached) page.

June 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLunasea

As a pro-EBF, pro-cosleeping, anti-CIO, anti-spanking, anti-circ SAHD, I enjoyed reading this post and the comments...except that I have never really "worn" any of my babies. Carried them, snuggled them, played with them, changed their diapers, read them books, fed them bottled breastmilk (never formula) while their mom was at work or school; but not worn them. I hope that doesn't disqualify me!

BTW I love that the dad in the photo has a beer in his hand! :)

June 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlan

My hubby is an Attached Dad, he has done everything - took 10 months off when our second was born & does ALL the baths & does bed times & goes to our older son when he calls out at night. He too understood that he could still be involved when I was nursing & was right there to lean on when we switched to formula & was able to help with the night feeds for both.

Thanks to ALL the dads out there that are involved & want to be involved & attached in whatever way they can.

June 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa B

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