This is Daily Dadspeak—daily reflections on becoming a dad, while still growing up myself. You can find the full mini-pod audio list here.
This morning I was watching my 10-year-old brush his teeth.
When he finished I smiled and said, “I like how you take care of yourself.”
“I like how you take care of yourself too, daddy.”
“Thank you,” I said. “I’m sure there are things I could do better too.
He quickly agreed: “Yeah, like when mommy’s upset or frustrated about something, you get upset or frustrated too.”
“That’s not good, is it? When she’s down, she needs me to be even more supportive, right?”
“Exactly, when mommy’s upset, you need to be extra happy.”
I think he nailed that one.
Fortunately, these aren’t frequent occurrences in our house, but everyone gets upset, frustrated, angry, sad, or down sometimes. And when that someone is your partner, you need to be the counterweight.
The next time you see your partner having one of those days:
- notice how they’re feeling
- take a breath
- remember that right now they need you as much as ever
What not to do:
- don’t respond with frustration or anger
- don’t assume you know how they’re feeling
- don’t jump to advice or solutions
- ask if there’s anything you can do to help
- ask how you can be better
- ask if they want to talk
And then listen. And do your best to follow their instructions.
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