There are lots of mommy and me playgroups …and clubs …and magazines and… but not enough daddy focused services, yet more and more dad’s want to be (or are) involved on that level. Mi-Dad’s express gratitude that our programs are simply aimed at parents and providers – regardless of sex, regardless of family “type”… and Mi Families hope dad’s feel welcome and appreciated for being involved. I won’t go into statistics and stuff on here, but it’s REALLY important for kids to have a dad (a dad…any dad…any caring guy) involved. I am extremely blessed to have a husband who is involved and supportive of our kids – and of me – and of this business.
Research shows that many of today’s dad’s are just as caring …and supportive …and “maternal” as a mom –just in a different way. Although Mi Families wants everyone to feel included we recognize that there are differences. There are differences between moms and dads, between family types, between centers and programs … that’s why all our services are individualized per event/referral. Services are individualized so that each recipient can obtain resources to feel “the same” as everyone else. I guess the feeling to want everyone to feel “the same”/normal is a personal battle. My husband says I should call it “the new normal” – accepting that everyone is different and NO ONE is “normal.” Although we want to feel “the same” – we shouldn’t all want to BE the same. That would make life and relationships pretty boring. Our strengths, weaknesses… they are a part of us for a reason… discovering that reason helps us fit into the SAME puzzle as our family, friends, community… the world!
Our last article talked about going and growing … accepting the changes in spring and in ourselves. As summer begins and we get in our rhythm of relaxing in the sunshine – don’t let your brain melt. Continue going and growing – never stop keeping your mind in motion. Like that saying says “no matter how slow you are moving you are doing laps around the person on the couch”… no matter how slow you are learning– you are still learning! “Slow and steady finishes the race” and accepting that you finished the race as YOU – with your abilities/difference – is important. Remember this when addressing report cards! …I expected my kids to be soaring over others as I knew how smart they were – yet – grades showed they weren’t. We decided to try homeschooling and figure out their learning styles. We had avoided labels and the world judging their abilities / placing them into a “box,” but had to admit to concerns brought up for years … there was something going on “in there.” So we accepted the label – to serve the purpose of getting the services. Sometimes we need services to gain skills… Kids don’t need t-shirts saying “please excuse my behavior, because I have (_blank_).” Services provide tips and tools and skills to progress – no matter how slow. Services help you accept a delay in wherever, or a disability of whatever. Services connect you to others so you feel “the same.” For many who need em’ – services aren’t available during the summer months and parents have to deal with whatever issues are going on “in there.” Often parents disagree on how to handle the issues or label – because there are differences in how moms and dads handle parenting duties, but it does not mean you can’t be on the same team.
One of the fun-fam challenges we’ve discussed this year is becoming a family team. Parents and kids working besides each other to schedule to-do’s and get’em done. Working together to learn new things, eat healthy, work out & have fun / play together. For your family to work together as a team it’s important to have team challenges with your partner (spouse, co-parent, whatever…). Find time to schedule to-do’s together and work out rules and responsibilities for the family – that’s your job as team captains / coaches. It’s also important to model the other challenges by finding time to learn things together – eat meals together – work out together – and enjoy each other! Conquer these challenges and you’ll be ready to conquer any challenges thrown at you – even dealing with challenging kids and their challenging labels!
Summer leads to many opportunities to practice being a team. There are sports to play (even if in your own backyard), there are reunions (with silly games), community events (check out the family fun at the TC Cherry Festival)… Celebrate the forth of July by having your own patriotic family Olympic games! Invite the relatives and family friends over to have a friendly competition. Competition can get tricky with different abilities and needs, but it’s an important piece to the self-growth puzzle. The puzzle often gets more challenging to complete when your schedule is off during the summer months, so consider ways you can keep their routine and familiar faces around… Make time for playdates for your kids and dates for you and your parenting-partner… If dad is involved use those dates to let him know you recognize and appreciate his involvement. If you want him more involve use dates to talk to him about it. A dad recently told me he didn’t want to “overstep” mom’s job – sometimes it just takes a conversation letting each other know what you want from them. Involve kids and ask how they can contribute to your family team… ask them what special activities they’d like to do with “the coaches” … or just mom – or just dad. If dad isn’t in the picture consider who can fill that role – a grandparent or friend? Many kids don’t have dad around so Fathers Day can be a sensitive “holiday” – just as I wrote about in the Mother’s Day article … please be sensitive towards those kids and if you’re a guy who’s up for the challenge consider a way you can be “the guy” for a kid who needs it. Consider ways your family team can have a SUPER HERO kinda summer…
Thanks to those who have been completing the Mi Families participation challenge! If your up for the challenge contact us to see what programs might benefit your family or group, also click on highlighted links to learn more about us and our resources. …and if you haven’t done so yet – follow us on FACEBOOK and subscribe for our updates on the upper right of this page *note we do NOT sell participants contact information. OH and also – feel free to leave comments below or message our director with thoughts: