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Renee Chou: When Dad is the 'fun' parent

Posted June 20, 2018 9:10 p.m. EDT

Renee Chou's husband and daughter

On this month dedicated to dads, I wanted to give a special shout-out to my husband, Mike, who I declare to be the “fun” parent.

He excels at playing “chase” with Elsa all throughout the house. He picks her up, flips her upside down and spins her around like an amusement ride. When Elsa wanted a castle in her playroom, Mike went to Lowe’s Home Improvement, picked up some cardboard panels and worked it into a pretend palace. He’s the “fort “ she loves to climb when sitting on the couch. He’s a master of silly faces and goofy voices. When squeals of laughter emanate through the house, it’s usually because Elsa is playing with her daddy.

I admire my husband’s energy, creativity and imagination in keeping our four-year-old daughter entertained and engaged. He’s a kid at heart -- and the play with Elsa comes naturally as a way of creating a special bond.

Dads deserve credit too

But Mike’s also not afraid to be the tough parent. He makes sure she earns her screen time, by working on workbooks, writing, reading or flash cards. He’s able to say “no” when she asks for a new toy or a treat. And if she doesn’t follow through with the behavior he wanted, he follows through on the consequence.

Moms get a lot of credit in the parenting world. But dads should as well, especially when they share in the child-raising and household responsibilities. With my early morning work schedule, getting Elsa ready for the day and off to preschool is all him.

Mike also does most of the grocery shopping. And he’s a great cook and grill master, preparing about half of the week’s dinners. He also does his own laundry! Yes, he is a total gem and a keeper. Because of him, I’m able to work outside the home at a job I love AND be a mom without feeling guilty or going totally insane.

Many assume that Elsa is a “daddy’s girl.” But she is still very much attached to me.

'I love you THIS much'

The other day at dinner, out of the blue, she says to us, “Daddy, I love you THIS much” and puts her hand at a level near her chest. Then she says, “Mommy, I love you THIS much” and raises her hand high above her head.

Mike and I were surprised and amused that she tried to quantify and compare her love for us. If the adoration tipped the other way, admittedly my heart would be a bit crushed. But Mike laughed it off and joked that eventually she’ll come around. I suspect several years down the road, when little Miss Feisty and Independent clashes with her mama, Dad will become her “favorite” parent. I’d probably choose him too!

Elsa has no idea yet how wonderful her dad is. I believe he’s also setting the standard for her to see how a husband should treat a wife -- with respect, love and as an equal partner in life. And by injecting a little silliness and fun into the day -- every day is that much better.

If Mike is the “fun” parent, so be it. I love that we both get to share in the fun of raising this incredibly amazing little girl.

Renee Chou, WRAL-TV morning anchor, is the mother of one. You can find her monthly on Go Ask Mom and all of the time on her Facebook page.