We Need An Everyday Husband/Dad

Edric and I were seated at the dinner table the other evening when I asked, “What was the highlight of your day?” to which he replied, “You are.”

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Edric has ten million things going on in his life and I am sure five million of those things are probably more exciting than I am, and yet he often insists that being with me is far more delightful than anything else he does in the day. I can’t even begin to share how a statement like that makes me feel but special and treasured are adjectives that come to mind.

Edric has conditioned himself to think of me and the kids as the most important people in his life so he blurts out statements like that often, not just to me but to the kids as well.

He says to them, “Who are my favorite people in the whole world?!” And they jump on him, confidently acknowledging that they are the answer to his question. Like me, they know he cherishes them.

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Fri Jan 09 2015 06-16-39 GMT 0800

My dad used to say that when a man comes home, he meets with the most important people in his life. He must park everything else at the door and treat his home as sacred. His wife and his children deserve his undivided attention and the best version of himself.

I think this is a great ideal. But the reality is most husbands/fathers are busy, especially during weekdays when work preoccupies their time and uses up their energies. So how can they make their families feel prioritized even if they can’t give them hours and hours of their attention when they come home?

I would like to share with you a couple of strategies that Edric employs to do this. He learned these simple “tricks” and principles over the years and they have done wonders for his relationship with me and the kids.

1. The first five-minutes. When Edric steps into the house, no matter what kind of a day he has had, he announces his arrival so the kids can run to him, one by one. He takes them in his arms, especially our little ones. They will ask him to flip them around and he obliges. “Flip, flip!”

The point is he makes sure he hugs each one of our children and asks them how their day was. It takes just five minutes to communicate to them that this is his favorite part of the day…coming home. Afterwards they run off to their various activities, happy to know that daddy is in the house.

2. Answering my questions. When the kids disperse and Edric and I have alone time as he settles in, I usually ask, “How was your day? Any highlights?” He is sweet enough to give me a summary of his day even if talking is probably the last thing he wants to do. Like most men, he is exhausted by the time he walks through the door. This interaction doesn’t take more than fifteen minutes (usually) but it keeps me updated on what’s going on with him so I don’t feel like he’s a stranger.

3. Share many meals together, WITHOUT DISTRACTIONS.

Edric tries to have breakfast and dinner with us. Dinners are more consistent because he rushes off in the mornings.

We congregate around the table and Edric wants everyone sitting down, first to pray and thank the Lord for our food, and then to share the meal and conversation together. None of us can have a gadget on the table even if it is turned off!

The kids have all been trained by Edric to speak up and say, “No gadgets at the table!” if one is in sight. In fact, it doesn’t matter if it is an urgent message or call. This is sacred family time where interruptions are not welcome. Obviously there are exceptions but since the strictly implemented rule is no gadgets at the table, we don’t see our messages or hear the phones ringing anyway!

4. Ending the day with a daddy prayer. Edric prays for our children every night that he can. It’s his tradition with them. Before they go to bed, they will peek into our bedroom and say, “Will you come and pray for us, dad?” Or “Time to pray!”

I know other dads who read to their kids or tell their kids stories before bedtime. This is a great idea, too!

5. No kids sleeping in our room, except on weekends. Having our bedroom to ourselves during weekdays allows Edric and I to have our own space as a couple. We can end the evening without our children jumping all over us. We can have pillow talks and cuddle time without worrying about our decibel levels or maneuvering ourselves around little bodies. Plus, we sleep better! (Even Catalina sleeps in the girl’s room. She started doing so at 10 months.)

6. Untouchable evenings. As much as possible Edric won’t schedule activities or meetings on Monday and Tuesday nights. He reserves these nights for the kids and me. One evening is our date night and the other is our family devotion night. When he opens his calendar, Monday nights and Tuesday nights are blocked off. Even his personal assistant knows this.

7. Early morning exercise. We try to run every other day and do our ab workouts. Since Edric has to leave home pretty early we try and start by 6 AM. If we aren’t able to sleep at 9:30 or 10 PM the night before, getting up can be a problem. However we do our best to keep up the habit of early morning exercise because it is one of the ways we bond together and pray.

8. Picking up our random phone calls. Except for taping sessions or speaking engagements when he can’t be at his phone, Edric will pick up when we call him. If he misses a call, he phones us back. He wants to be accessible to us and we have the license to disturb him.

These eight simple routines and habits during the weekdays make it feel like Edric is very present in our lives even if his daily work schedule is hectic and taping for his shows keeps him very busy. He didn’t use to be as intentional about spending time with the kids and me when our children were younger. But as he learned about what it means to be a godly husband and father, he conditioned himself with the perspective that we are his priority. In fact he gave up certain activities like computer games and basketball leagues. These were not easy sacrifices and once in a while, he may indulge in a game or two, but his default mode is to prefer the company of his family. I am so grateful to the Lord that Edric’s heart is turned towards us. The kids and I need him in our lives, as an everyday husband and father, and not just a Saturday and Sunday one!

Christmas 2014

 

Comments

  1. OH, THIS IS SUCH A WARM VALENTINE STORY OF LOVE! THANKS SO MUCH JOY AND EDRIC FOR BEING GODLY EXAMPLES TO US. GOD BLESS YOU A THOUSANDFOLD!

  2. Thank you Joy for sharing these – you have been an inspiration to us. I am learning a lot from your stories and try to apply them as I raise my 2 young girls. May I know how you have trained your kids to sleep on their own rooms at a young age? I have just realized that it will indeed give husband/wife quality time together if I am able to do so. May He continue to bless you and your wonderful family

    • Joy T Mendoza says:

      Hi Apple! By one year, when they are sleeping through the night, we put them in their own rooms. Unless they are sick, they can sleep on their own without an adult. It’s made our lives so much easier! Everyone in the family gets better sleep! The longer families wait, the harder it gets because toddlers can walk back into their parents’ rooms in the middle of the night. So the trick is to do it earlier than later, preferably when they are infants:)

      • Hi Joy. Thanks for sharing this. Inhave a 3year old son and he is still sleeping with us. My problem was he was still breastfeeding until he was 2 (even at night!),and now we’re having a hard time making him sleep in his own room. Any suggestions?
        Thanks and God bless you!

  3. Truly inspiring!

  4. This is such an inspiring read for me. It is encouraging to know that there are other families out there like yours and Edric that tries hard to do their homework well. What especially impressed me is the putting of family on top of the list! God bless your home! From my family to yours, cheers

    • Joy T Mendoza says:

      There are many families like ours, families who make Christ the center of it. I just happen to write about ours! He he. Glad this blessed you! Praise God!!!

  5. Such a lovely blog. You are so blessed Joy and they are so blessed to have you to… You inspire me more and more.
    Thank you very much. God Bless you and your family.

  6. Another inspiring post! Thank you for this and I’ll surely share this with my husband. I’m sure he’ll be empowered to continue the things he already does in your list and be inspired to truly become an Everyday Husband and Dad 🙂 God bless you and your family!

  7. Ice Atregenio says:

    Touched by this. 🙂 Truly inspiring! I’m learning so much from your blogs. God bless you more!

  8. Jaztine Marie Alfafara says:

    Your family is indeed an inspiration… and everyone who will read this blog will truly be inspired… hope to read more and learn more as well… God bless and more power 🙂

  9. thank you for continuously inspiring us Joy and Edric! Happy Valentine’s to you guys! <3

  10. Thank you for sharing this. I attended CCF for some time and what I remember most is Pastor Peter’s family series. I hope that you give workshops also on family =) God bless you and your family!

  11. Hi Joy!

    When your eldest was just your only child, did you make him sleep in a separate bedroom at 10 months too? And if he did sleep separately, was there a yaya with him? Thank you so much!

    • I was wondering that too.. I have a 5 month old now. But she doesnt sleep thru the night just yet..

      Btw, these are great! I will let my husband read this! =D he does most of them =)

  12. awesome!!! God bless you more Edric! reading this made me realize how i love my children so much!

  13. Pinky from Cebu says:

    Hi Joy,
    What a blessing to read this blog.I will surely share this to my hubby and r other dads in the church.Please keep on inspiring others.
    I also appreciate the point about keeping the bedroom to you and Edric.It is one important thing that couples neglect today.Like you my husband and I worked together to teach our kids to respect the privacy of our room.Our kids also started to sleep on their own room by 12 months.We believe that by doing this we are teaching our kids to respect Mom& Dad’s privacy which is important for the marriage relationship.When they see this in the home they will develop the value and also do it when they have their own family in the future.
    Marriage and parenting is truly a life-long challenge but one that we should not face alone.It is one of the most rewarding experiences one could ever have in this life but with God on our side nothing is impossible.

  14. The unfortunate thing about this article is that everything celebrated in terms of family is undermined by the sexist and heteronormative position you perpetuate. Stay at home mom’s don’t work? Or is it only wealthy men whose wives can do this? What about the millions of non conforming families? Or women who want to have a professional career and men who don’t? These kinds of chocolate box families that describe themselves effectively idealistically, really should consider their values a little closer. In my family we both work, our children slept in their own rooms since the day we came home from the hospital, we eat dinner and breakfast together every day… And I would hate to teach my kids that they should be defined by their gender!

    • I agree with this. It takes two people to raise a family. It’s not that your husband is sharing parenting duties – rather that in many couples often the husband neglects his, and seem to forget that raising children is a job too.

    • Woah there, anonymous. Relax. The author is just blogging about what she appreciates in her husband. That doesn’t necessarily equate to all other families as subpar in their values or roles. The intent of this article isn’t to judge you so please return the favor.

      • I’m afraid Kate that you are incorrect. Perhaps the very first clue is in the title of this blog ‘we need an everyday husband/dad’. I really hope Joy (and all those idealising their perfect middle class heteronormative lives) teaches her children that they can be who they want to be, not be defined by their gender, and (insert drum role) it’s ok to be a working mom, a stay at home dad, be atheist or convert, gay, transgender or any of the very many wonderful things that make our world so wonderful which clearly would not meet with her approval. I am not knocking Joys values at all – rather the unfortunate way they are expressed.

        • Anonymous, you are entitled to your opinion and viewpoints but it is sad that you have placed Joy and her family in your own narrow box by calling them a “perfect, middle class with heteronormative lives” family, which they are not and have never claimed to be. This discussion could have been more engaging if you had approached it with an open mind. Instead, it seems that you are dead set on pronouncing judgment. Just taking it from the tone of your comment and the choice of words.

          • Hi Kate. Yes you are right. Heteronormative, obviously, middle class – I think a very fair assumption but I did overstep the mark on ‘perfect’ as I can’t comment on that. Your claiming they are not is either as similar assumption, or perhaps you know more of them than what this blog yields. The box, well this blog is what puts this here, not me. Open minded, well that’s exactly my point – it’s the lack of openmindedness that I am pointing out. You suggest I could have been more engaging – I am very happy to engage. I note that you avoid the actual real points I raise – perhaps you’d like to address them?

  15. Beautiful thoughts on family as always.

  16. Hi Joy, I am a husband and a Dad. My wife follows your blog, and now I follow it too. It is truly inspiring and faith enriching to be always be reminded on how God has designed families as partners in life. I am not perfect but being a man of God that I am able to be a husband and a daddy. You are truly blessed and your family.

  17. Hi Joy,

    Thanks for this post 🙂

    You’re family and marriage seem to be sooooo perfect. Don’t you ever have difficulties with any of them? I wasn’t blessed the same way as I grew up in a broken home.

  18. Thanks Joy for the post. My wife follows your blog and shared this to me. I honor your husband for consciously making the effort to be a better husband and dad despite the busy schedule. .Hope I could do the same with my wife and kids even when there are tons of items to accomplish both in work and business. God bless!

    • Joy T Mendoza says:

      Thanks! It’s very humble of you to admit that about yourself. Your children are blessed to have you (and your wife, too!) May he continue to strengthen your marriage and enable your parenting! God bless you guys!

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