Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Your Baby's Daddy Doesn't Do Do-Do?

What kind of daddy is your baby's daddy? Is he super involved and rushes you out the door so he can change dirty diapers and give a bath? Or does he cringe at the thought of poop? Does he only pick baby up when asked?  Or do you have to tell him to quit hogging the baby? Have you saved the the US Health & Human Services Promoting Responsible Fatherhood website to your favorites tab?

Did you know that it's okay to have either daddy as your baby's daddy as long as it is alright with you?

When I became pregnant with Georgia, Rocky and I decided not to know what we were having (that would make a fun post). My entire pregnancy, Rocky kept hoping for a boy. At one point, he told me, "if it's not a boy, I'm demanding they put it back and bake it longer." I was nervous he would be uninvolved if it was a girl. So out a girl popped! During our required 24 hour post-partum stay with Georgia, I did not change a single diaper. Rocky - who had never changed a diaper in his entire life - changed every one of her diapers. I even think he would of breastfed her if he could. I thought, "man! I am so lucky, he is going to be so involved."
The 1st time Rocky gave Georgia a bath (approx 4 mos old). Scrubbing her ears was one thing, but he refused to scrub between her legs. We had to work up to that.
As the weeks started passing, Rocky became less and less involved in our little bundle. Should I be asking him to help me more? Should I DEMAND he help me more? Is it because she's a girl? Up until Georgia was 9 months old, Rocky had the fortune of never having to get up in the middle of the night with her. We both worked full time, and she was bottle fed - there was no reason he couldn't get up with her. I just felt it was my duty.

For a long time, I did all of Georgia's care by myself. I bathed her, I fed her, I completed her night time routine. Sometimes I felt frustrated, and even angry. Then Houston was born. Suddenly Rocky was forced into sitting on the floor and playing with Georgia, reading her books, washing her hair. But he was uninvolved with Houston. What the heck? Wasn't he super man....couldn't he do it all?

My birthday 2010. Rare moments of trying to be super dad were caught on camera.
In fact, Rocky didn't become super involved with Houston until Houston was about 6 mos old (right about the time I started cloth diapering -tee hee hee). It took me two children, 2 years, and reading several miscellaneous blog articles to realize that I didn't need to EXPECT Rocky to be this uber-involved-super-dad. There were many other women out their talking about how their husband's weren't involved with their teeny tiny babies either. In fact, some husband's even refused to change poopy diapers (mine changes poopy cloth diapers, so I'm must be really lucky), or even wet diapers.

Though biologically linked to their children, men don't give birth. That makes a huge difference in how they may "connect" with their offspring, along with their childhood upbringing. Men sometimes aren't the emotionally deep creatures we hope to see them as - holding a sleeping micro-blob isn't nearly as fun as playing catch with an over-active two year old.

So what is an acceptable level of involvement? Well, it's defined by YOU! What's okay with you? What's not okay with you? What areas in the home do you need him involved most? What is most important to your child's development?  What benefits your marriage most? There are many levels of fatherhood involvement, and they vary greatly! Just like mompetitions, we can't become involved in pop-a-titions: comparing the strengths and weaknesses of our husband's, as if they will be hoisted onto the shoulder's of all man-kind, trophy raised above their heads in a moment of glory.

There is no trophy, no moment of glory - only the satisfaction of a happy home. So go pat your man on the back next time he's changing a diaper, or NOT changing a diaper, and thank him for participating in your lives (as defined by you!).

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  1. I couldn't agree more. I did not know what to expect with mine- he was involved in the pregnancy but not as much as I would have liked. But looking back, my expectations were way too high, what was there for him to do????? When he was born, we had a unique situation you know about and they didn't bond right away for obvious reasons. Now they are inseparable and I dont need to ask for help, I just pass him off if I need a break or to do something. He has a different and special relationship with each of us, which is wonderful and I couldn't ask for more!

  2. I rarely complain about Matt's level of involvement- now don't get me wrong I complain about LOTS of things about him (way more than I should) but it is hard to fault him as a hands on dad. I remember my proudest moment- Grace was a few months old and Matt's Dad was out visiting meeting her for the firs time. He noticed how much Matt changed her diapers and said how when he had to "babysit" (Don't even get me started on the whole Dads who call taking care of their OWN kids babysitting...) that they never pooped. Matt was like, "Oh I guess you never had them long" and his Dad said sometimes and their mom would always complain about how they had poop dried up and crusted on them but "What can I say they just did it right when you got home." To which Matt replied, "yeah I would never do that because i wouldn't want her to get a rash on her poor little parts." Woo Hoo GO HUBBY GO! :)

  3. Matt & Rocky's dad's sound similar. Rocky grew up (mostly) without a strong male figure - which is why I believe he didn't know how to be invovled. Now that the kids have gotten older and he has had time to LEARN to be a dad - it can bring tears to my cheeks to watch him dote on his kids.

  4. My hubby did jammie-time with Nicole from when she was a month or two old because I felt strongly he needed to be involved in some defined way. He doesn't do it often any more but he is super involved with Olivia. I'm kind of a ninja though, I'll sneak up on him and he like, "Here, take this." and he'll automatically put his hands out to take whatever I'm handing him and SHAZAM ITS THE BABY!
    It's way better than, "Can you hold her?" because sometimes that gets answered with 'but i'm doing blahblahblah." ;)