When you fall for someone, it's probably due to their sense of humor, personality, or the way their butt looks in jeans, and not their parenting ability. But, while IMO, my partner scores highly across the board, his parenting skills were at least part of the equation. This might not be important to everyone, but as a mom who was previously married to a marginal parent, I can tell you that if you want kids someday, it's something to consider. Like me, you might know from the start that your partner would be a fantastic parent, or you might have to wait until after you become parents to find out.
I consider myself to be pretty lucky in this department, at least the second time around. I knew right away that my future second husband would be a great dad, because he was already a fantastic dad when we met. The first messages we sent each other via an online dating site were playful and sweet. And while some might consider it a major faux pas, we talked about our kids right away. I had just put my kids to bed for the night, and he was sitting in the large chair outside of his kids' room, waiting for them to fall asleep. We got to know each other as people and parents at the same time, which was pretty awesome, if you ask me.
I spoke with some other moms about the moment they knew that their partner would be an awesome parent. Some, like me, knew right away, based on their partner's interactions with their kids or the other kids in their lives. Others had to wait until they actually became parents to find out. And some aren't sure yet, but heck, what is a "good" parent, anyway? I am pretty sure it's in the eye of the beholder. So, how did they know? Read on to find out (and get ready for your heart to melt).
"During one wedding dress fitting, I remember coming out of the dressing room and wondering where my fiancé was. I turned the corner and found him holding a baby, with the biggest smile on his face. The mom of the baby raved about how good of a father he was going to be some day. He has consistently been the 'favorite uncle' in his large family and has always wanted to be a dad. He is understanding, patient, and naturally good with kids, so much so that he always ends up watching someone's child when we go shopping, and a mom is struggling in the dressing room. I couldn't feel more secure knowing he's the father of my child."
"The moment I knew he would be a fantastic dad was our first date. He was so caring and kind and gentle with my dog. The moment he held our baby, after trying for years, he looked like a complete natural. He soothes him on a level I can't, but I'm okay with. He's a great human. I miss him. We're currently apart because of this awful hurricane."
"When I caught him telling our newborn how much he loves him. He didn't know I was listening, and it was heart melting. Also, he stays home with our son three days a week. He's an awesome dad."
"I met my husband while volunteering for Special Olympics in college. Seeing him interact with the athletes made me certain he would be an amazing father and he totally is. He is playful and loving."
"My husband is the oldest of three boys, very athletic, owns a construction company, brews beer. He's a guy's guy. When I was pregnant with our twins and found out they were both girls, I thought he might be disappointed to not have a son to share all those things with. 'Nope,' he said, and from the very start he's treated our girls like they can and will be anything; he sees no gender-based limitations for them. He helps with sports, roughhouses and wrestles with them, teaches them about tools, building materials and architecture, and does it all with whatever glitter and barrettes they have clipped in his hair that day. I always knew he was a great guy and would be an excellent dad, but I feel like it's kind of unique that he truly sees and treats them as people, not just as girls, and I love that about him."
"We were dating for only a few weeks when his sister asked him to babysit her kids. He was so engaging and patient with her kids that I had a great feeling about our future children. He is a wonderful dad."
"When we first met my now husband, he said, 'you can't say I love you without putting you (the I) first.' I still remember that moment vividly. It told me that he understands that selflessness in a relationship is not a virtue. It told me that he believed that self respect and the 'self' is of tantamount importance whoever you are. I know he is going to teach our daughter about self respect and loving oneself first, before fulfilling anyone else's expectations. Maybe even ours, and that's okay."
"When I first met my husband he had a picture of a 2 year old boy, as his screen saver on his phone. I casually asked him if it was his son. He said, 'no, I wish. That's my nephew, but his dad is a douche, so it's up to me to love him.'"
"When he bought and watched The Happiest Baby on the Block, during the first trimester with our unexpected (Surprise? Wine-inspired?) baby, I knew he was ready to be the best dad he could be. Recently, I heard him call our daughter his best friend and my heart melted."
"I knew my now husband would be a good daddy when we got pregnant after only a few months of dating. He never once faltered in being there for me and came to every doctor's appointment just so he could hear her heartbeat. When she was born he watched the whole thing and instead of being grossed out, he cried the whole time. It was so sweet. He held her so tight with all the gunk still on her and just repeated, 'I love you so so much. I've been waiting for you.'"
"Mine wasn't so much a time when I knew she'd be a great parent. She was a parent before we ever met. When she asked me to consider having a baby, though, I thought about it, and realized that unlike everyone else I'd ever been with, I absolutely trusted her to co-parent with me. She'll never assume that raising our child was only my job, and she'll never willingly leave me to do it on my own."
"There are so many when my kids were babies, but when they were past the infant stage, he really made me see what a fabulous parent he really is. My husband watched all the Sesame Street videos that our first child loved, wrote down all the words to all the songs, and then memorized them so he could sing them to her."
"I was babysitting my fiance's co-worker's children, and we had to watch them together overnight at one point. While I've always loved kids, I've also always been incredibly awkward around other people's children. He, however, played and engaged with those kids like they were his own. I knew then that he was going to be a wonderful father."
"My husband would literally let my nephews ride on his back like a pony. I knew he was going to be a great father. Ten years later, he now gives the same pony rides to our 3 year-old."
"We went snowboarding in Austria, where they held the Winter Olympics years ago, and even the easy runs were fast and long. It was my first time, and I got stuck and couldn't get up without taking my board off, so I started walking down. I made it most of the way down and hit a particularly icy hill I couldn't traverse, so I sat on a snow machine and cried. Around 30 minutes later, he came looking for me. He found me on the snow machine, wiped away my tears, and patiently used the edge of his board to scrape up enough snow that I could follow him down safely."
"I always knew and that's why I married him. But the moment that sticks in my mind is the morning after she was born. He went and got her from the nursery and brought her back to our room. I was in a sleep daze and heard what I thought was laughing. But I looked over and he was just staring at her sleeping and crying his eyes out. Then she woke up, and we tried to breastfeed as well as we could. He lay down next to me and opened up his shirt and insisted on doing some skin-to-skin time. It was a happy moment for the three of us in that hospital bed."