I follow many (OK some) of the same blogs that my honey follows. I very seldom comment, but I still get a sense of belonging from listening to others challenges, feelings, actions, ramblings, etc. We all need to feel we are not alone! And I thoroughly understand, and appreciate the support, encouragement, and advice she receives from this on-line
community family. Lately I've been
feeling a bit jealous of this.
Although my honey is on the front line dealing with our children's issues more than I am, I do consider myself a very involved dad. I have a somewhat flexible work schedule and work from home more than from the office, so I am home frequently when the girls are home. And I have adjusted my priorities considerably in recent years to place a much higher priority on family #2.
After my honey returned from this year's Trauma Mama retreat in Orlando I began to really think about the jealousy I was feeling. What about the dads? Am I the only one that feels this way? I was reading Christine's blog when I discovered House Calls Counselings Parenting in SPACE conference. And just like Arlo Guthrie said "It come like a flash, Like a vision burnt across the clouds" why don't you go to this conference and get connected? And maybe they'll be some other dads there, too. Thinking this could be a common experience that helps my honey and I get closer to being on the same page, I asked her to attend with me. "What the .... would we do with the girls?" Fast forwarding a bit..... she still didn't want to go as we left for the conference last Friday....
WOW, what an experience! I had read a number of books and articles at my honey's suggestion, on attachment theory and therapeutic parenting. I was NOT a non believer but I can't say I was fully convinced. After hearing first hand the stories of many other parents experiences, and just one session on the Fundamentals of Attachment, all the books and articles came to life for me, and it all suddenly made sense. Not only made sense but looked almost obvious. Of course these kids respond differently. And of course you need to parent them differently than I was parented. They are physically wired differently!
The sessions I attended were very informative and I learned, or validated a lot of critically important stuff. Now I have attended a variety of conferences, e.g. technical conferences for my job, and a number of conferences for a variety of volunteer organizations I have been involved in. Across the board I have found that as valuable as the content at these conferences is, the real value comes from having the opportunity to talk with, and laugh/cry with other people in similar circumstances. This conference was no different. I got to share my story, and hear the stories of many others that validated so much of what I was feeling. I made a number of new friends, AND there were dozens of other dads there!
I heard other dads express some of the same feelings I was having, and I gained valuable insight from listening to Michael Moers. I am not alone! And there is a significant role for the secondary caregiver. Thank you again Michael. I no longer feel jealous or left out. I have found a family that I am a part of. This family gets it, and I am so looking forward to staying connected through the blogs and FB. I guess I really need that iPhone now. :-).