The Men Helping Me Raise My Daughter

Celebrating Father’s Day this weekend is extra special. Not only is it what I consider my husband’s first real one (Vera was like a week old last year and we were both walking zombies and I’m pretty sure I didn’t even get a card for him let alone do a ridiculous Pinterest craft that looks easy but we all know is actually IMPOSSIBLE-> I digress), but it is also the first one since my father and father-in-law began watching my daughter one day a week each while we’re at work.

Let me start with my husband, Mike. He will hate it when he finds out I wrote about him, so I’ll keep it short (hi, dear!).

I know there are men out there who are disappointed when they find out they’re having a girl. Mike was not one of those (obviously or see ya!). I think he was more excited than me when we found out during our 18-week appointment.

Vera lights up when she sees her dad. To her, I’m a source of comfort (and food), but her Dada is the ultimate playmate. He’s also an awesome parent partner-in-crime, handling the laundry and sharing grocery shopping responsibilities. I love that we’re demonstrating to our daughter a marriage and parenting team that truly works together.

And then there’s my Mannies. My daughter does go to daycare three days a week and she loves it – and so do we. But having family come to our house the other two days is invaluable – for our sanity AND budget. More than that though, observing Vera with her Papa (my dad) and Opa (Mike’s dad) is just the best.

Everyone does a double take when I explain that it is Vera’s grandfathers who are doing the watching. In fact, it sort of started out as a joke. Then, when due to daycare availability we really did need part-time help, I really wasn’t sure if they would be interested. It turned out that they jumped right in. Certainly the first few times they both left sapped of energy – Vera wasn’t doing much at 4 months, but she definitely wore them out! They have gotten into the swing of things now though, and Vera gets pretty excited to see them in the morning.

From attempting to give her the pacifier with the cap on and wondering why she won’t take it (Opa), to letting me know about the “little brown stain” on her sheet (the ENTIRE THING was covered with vomit (she’s fine)) (Papa), it hasn’t always gone smoothly, but Vera loves her grandpas. (We know this, even though she starts waving bye to them as soon as they hand her over to me when I get home #mamasgirl)

These two really help this working mama bear out and are helping to show Vera that holding down a job and having a family is normal. They’re showing her how to be independent, goofy, kind and strong.

Vera and I are incredibly lucky to have these three guys in our lives. Mike is a great husband who turned out to be an even better dad, and my dad and father-in-law are great dads who turned out to be even better grandfathers.

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Stephanie (Harig) Prause

Stephanie Prause is a corporate communications, sustainability communications and investor relations professional, juggling a career she thrives in with being a mom and wife. She is also passionate about staying active (as in, she’ll lose her mind otherwise). Other interests include sampling craft beers, cooking from scratch and reading voraciously (at least for about 20 minutes before she passes out mid-sentence).

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