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Let Him be Her Dad

(Last Updated On: June 19, 2017)

Let him be her dad. It is a lesson I have to relearn often because dads are imperfect. It’s really easy from the outside to see how I might have handled things differently, but he needs the freedom to be who God made him to be. God gave each of us the perfectly imperfect parents we were meant to have.

To let him be her dad, I had to learn humility and my Heavenly Father’s perspective.

On this Father’s Day, I spent a lot of time thinking about my dad, my step-father-in-law, my father-in-law and my daughter’s father. Each of these men did things differently, wonderfully, imperfectly. But each were great dads.

My husband’s role as a father started young. He was already a dad at the same age his boys are today. And his role as a father had many pause buttons due to his service time, except you can’t pause kids. He still feels cheated for all the moments he has missed in his children’s lives.

My husband spent much of our daughter’s first year in Iraq, from just days after we finalized her adoption until after she turned 15 months old.

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I was her everything for that year. We had brief periods of visiting family, but very few and far between. It was the all-mommy-show, all the time. It was hard in many ways, but it was also easy because I didn’t have to compromise, I could do everything my way.

I didn’t have to be a wife. I just had to be the mommy.

Then he came home: a bit lost in this new little-girl-land after two boys. He almost didn’t know how to be with her, this tiny, willful stranger. It was hard, his learning to fit in with us, us learning to let him back in.

This adjusting is part of the returning from war people don’t really understand, the reintegrating after the reuniting.

Adjusting as a family after he came home from war, meant learning to let him be her dad. Click To Tweet

I had to learn how to share her, how to share him, how to let him find his own way with her.

We had to find our family normal again.

One of the lessons that I had to learn was to let him be her dad. He is going to do things I never would. He is going to tickle her until she screams and throw her too high in the air, and give her ice cream for dinner. He is going to discipline her when I just want to wipe her tears.

Where I'm all poses and perfect smiles, he will make silly faces with her. I just need to let him be her dad.

Where I’m all poses and perfect smiles, he will make silly faces in pictures with her and kiss her cheeks until he leaves whisker burn because she loves his “grouchy whispers.” Someday, she will associate manhood with the way his cologne smells, like I do with my dad’s Old Spice.

He will define manhood for her in many ways by who he is.

He lets her style his hair with a penguin and wears her jewelry. When she hides under the covers, he pretends he doesn’t see her and hysteria ensues.

I need to let him be her dad - He teaches her to take life less seriously, catch a bass, identify a bird as it flies overhead. He will be a window into a different world than mine.

She held a kite soaring magically through the sky for the first time with him. They have daddy-daughter dates to fly kites and go fishing.  He holds her hand at the beach.

He teaches her to take life less seriously, catch a bass, identify a bird as it flies overhead. He will be a window into a different world than mine.

My world is full of books and words, emotions and communication, dresses and bows, learning and education. It’s a good world, but it isn’t the only world. His world is full of animals, dirt, bugs, cooking, living outdoors, patriotism and honor.

And she needs them both, like she needs us both.

I need to love and respect him, let him be her dad, so they can continue to learn together this father/daughter mystery. I want her to look up to her first superhero, to see his gentleness and intelligence, his bravery and creativity, enjoy listening to his stories and learn to take directions.

It’s easy to see the ways she fits with me so perfectly. But while I see the stark differences between her father and I, I recognize how perfectly God planned her family so that she would have the best of us both.

Now, if I can just relax, close my eyes, and let him be her dad, frogs, mud, and all.







25 thoughts on “Let Him be Her Dad

  1. This was so beautiful. This was such a great reminder of the difference between parents and that is is okay to love differently because it is good for our children. Thank You Jen for sharing your heart!

  2. Oh, I am so sad to say this is one of my greatest struggles and what I have been working on for a little while. We are about to have baby number four and over the last ten years I have learned to accept my husband and trust in not only him, but God. I know he will not hurt our children and that God is leading him and while that should be enough for me, it is difficult. I do see how I’d handle things differently in many situations, but I am getting better. Very good to hear I am not the only mother who struggles with this.

    1. I bet they feel the same way about how we do things. Pride is hard to defeat.

  3. I love this. Moms and dads are so different. I grew up in a home with a single mom. I still had a relationship with my dad, but he wasn’t there all the time. Seeing my husband with my kids has been a learning experience, but a good one. Dad’s are definitely special.

    1. They really are, and I really enjoy watching him have a different relationship with her.

  4. Beautiful post – SO important that Dads are allowed to be the Dads they’re supposed to be!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this it was beautiful. I have problems letting my husband be their dad at times and he isn’t in the military lol. You are truly blessed with a beautiful family!

    1. Blessed far beyond what I deserve!

  6. I love this post! Sharing!

    1. Thank you! So sweet

  7. So sweet – really nice post!

  8. I think all moms go through this maybe not at the same level but we do. I remember when my little one had colic and leaving both girls with my husband for a couple of hours. Yes he gave the oldest cookies for lunch but she survived. Dad’s may not do things the way we do but that just gives the kids something else to remember them with. I love that your husband takes your daughter on dates. So sweet.

    1. Yes, the first time I left her alone with him he was so funny. He texted me pictures, like proof of life photos. It was hilarious. And they caught bugs and had fun.

  9. Love this – it is true that us moms do not parent like dads do, and that is the way it is supposed to be. Love that you saw and shared it with us.


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  10. Isn’t if funny how God often puts opposites together? My hubby and I are very different on the parenting thing as well. But God always has a plan and he gave us these children for a specific reason. They need what we each bring to the equation and that is what you so amazingly expressed here! Wonderful post & thank you to your husband for his service.

    1. If nothing else, I have certainly learned to appreciate my parents more through this strong willed child

  11. Thanks for sharing this post!!! Sounds like you are an incredible mom and you too should be celebrated!

    1. I love her and try to do my best to raise a person who will be God honoring. I struggle to say I’m a good mom. But I know I am as long as I don’t hold myself to perfectionist standards

  12. Love it! My son’s father has never been involved, and so I’ve never had to share, never had to discuss discipline styles and it’s been awesome, so I can see how the transition can be a hidden part of the military process!

    1. Reintegrating is so hard for us because I’m super type A and organize everything and keep it that way. He comes home and has everything chaotic in five minutes. I have had to learn to make his house be his home not just mine.

  13. this is a beautiful heart felt post. You are so correct appreciate the differences and it will make you a better person

  14. This is a lovely post. I have two daughters and they also have a very special relationship with their dad.

  15. I loved the tone and grace in this post. It sounds like your kids have a really great dad–but I can only imagine how challenging the transition between him being gone and then being home would be for everyone involved. My husband also has a pretty different personality from me–different likes and passions–and I hope these differences will help us make a good team when it comes to kids.

    1. We have conflicts sometimes because we are so different. But appreciating those differences in a new way has made me a better wife.

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