moms and dads are different

I remember learning about a study in a Human Development class at BYU that involved six month olds and their reaction when each parent approached them.  In both scenarios, the baby responded happily as all of these babies were from loving and nurturing homes.  However, the baby’s reaction to each respective parent proved to be somewhat different.  When the mother advanced toward her baby the baby was relaxed and many of them would reach up their arms to be held.  It’s what happened when the father approached that made the study interesting, but probably not surprising.  As soon as the baby saw daddy move towards her baby got very excited and frantically looked for a place of safety.  With a big smile and probably some giggles, the baby, knowing dad, prepared herself to be tickled, tossed in the air, spun around, kissed to death or all of the above.
It’s funny that although I remember this study quite clearly from a few years ago, it’s still sometimes hard for me to remember that it’s ok for me to be the one she snuggles with and it’s ok that he’s the one she wrestles around with.
Just tonight Jeremy was crawling after Madeline, chasing her around the living room.  She, of course, ended up face planting.  Now my reaction, as her mommy, would be to hug her tightly, tell her its ok, and rub her back until she calms down again.  But daddy, daddy stood her up and just looked at her for a minute.  She continued to cry and cry and when he realized that wasn’t working he laid her on a blanket and started pulling her around the room for more rough-housing.  It was all I could do not to jump in and “save her”.  I didn’t think it would work.  Sure enough, however, after two or three attempts she stopped crying.  She even started giggling. Moms and Dads are different.
“The Family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity” (The Family: A Proclamation to the World).  
There is a reason Heavenly Father organized families to be made up of a FATHER and a MOTHER.  We live in a time of chaos.  The world says it’s ok to have two moms or two dads.  Extreme feminist women are starting a family by themselves because they don’t feel they need a husband.  I find it hard to imagine how that could even be slightly successful because children need a mom and a dad.  And more importantly, a woman needs a husband.  And a man needs a wife.  
A few weeks ago we were stayed with my Aunt Adrienne and her family on the way to Maryland. Somehow in our talking and catching up I remember her remarking on the importance of choosing the right person for a spouse.  Then she said, “Because really, it’s just going to be the two of you one day.” And she’s right.  Families are forever, but eventually everyone is getting married.  When your children are all grown up and married it’ll just be you and him.  
I’ve been working really hard at strengthening our marriage lately.  Not because it’s horrible and we’re at eachothers necks all the time but because why not? Why not use preventative measures to make my marriage greater than great?  Why not go the extra mile to show my husband I love him and learn to better meet his needs?
I’m so grateful to him and all he does for our family.  Sure he can’t plan a spontaneous date to save his life, and sure he doesn’t bring home flowers except for Valentines day if I remind him the day of.  Sure he usually doesn’t know the exact thing I want him to say because I’ve had a bad day.  But he is not that guy.  He’s the guy who assembles all your furniture the day you move in with out being asked.  He’s the guy who always offers to take a fussy baby out during Sacrament meeting.  He’s the guy who’s just about the best dad you could ever ask to be the father of your children.  He does things in his own way and I am so eternally nagging grateful.  
Moms and dads are different.  They always have been and they always will be.  And that’s how it’s supposed to be.
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