What is expected of you will change with time. When they were tiny, you needed to do everything for your children, lest they not survive the night. When they got older, what was needed was different. Food didn’t need to literally be put in their mouth, but you still had so much to do. One day, they’ll be older, much older. Some day, they’ll even be the age you are now, and hopefully you’ll be there for that.
What will be required of you? What’s the through line to judge a good parent through the early days to the glory days through the golden years?
It’s simple: Do you make their life easier or harder? Better or worse?
That’s your job. That’s what dad is. Dad is a guy who is there to help, to get them things. Not to do everything, as we have discussed, but to do the things that need to be done.
Does your visit to see the grandkids help reduce some of the burdens of being a new parent? Or does it just add stress and conflict? When you help your daughter with her homework, does it make your daughter feel more capable, like she can figure anything out? Or do you make her feel more insecure and less smart? Do the weekends with you, as part of the custody split, provide a safe space? Or is it an obligation, a source of disruption?
Parenting is complicated but in the end, it’s pass/fail. Do you make their life easier or harder? Better or worse? Which is it?
Because that’s the question you’ve got to be able to answer. And if your answer isn’t a good one, you’ve got changes to make.