I never think of myself as the “breadwinner” in the family, although I most definitely consider my husband to be the primary childcare- giver. He is up every morning at 7:00 AM (I’m a crank in the morning), giving bottles, reading stories, changing diapers, fixing breakfast, doing “potty duty”, with little complaint and often quite a lot of laughter from both of my beloved sons.
I love that they are close, and although I am sometimes jealous of the time he spends with them, I realize that having their father around as much as he is may just be the single best thing we do for them in their young lives.
When my first son was born, I made a promise to myself that I would encourage my husband’s involvement. So I tried very, very hard not to interfere in his parenting; after all, who was I to be in charge? We were both completely new at this. Still, this was incredibly hard for me as I am extremely controlling by nature. I knew, however, that if I kept insisting that things be done “a certain way,” he would become discouraged and not feel that he could be so involved. Of course, he was nervous (so was I: neither of us had ever changed a diaper in our lives) but he was also pro-active, asking the neo-natal nurse to show him how to change the baby, to feed it and burp it. He watched the baby nurse clean the baby for a week, then insisted she let him do it, while she watched and directed, so he would learn to it properly.
My husband, it turns out, learns best with a “hands on” approach, and he learns well. In fact, he is five times the “baby bather” that I am (although I am twice as fast at a diaper change.) And it was this act of bathing our son every morning that led to all the morning rituals after, to hundreds of stories being read while milk was sipped and my son was snuggled in his father’s arms. It led to mornings of “tickle time” (rougher play, perhaps, than mine but my son never laughed louder) and couch forts, of peanut butter toast and building cardboard mansions; magical mornings that are now shared by my infant son who looks on and laughs at their antics with surprise and delight. Someday, soon, he will join them, and I know, as I lay in bed, supposedly sleeping in, that I will hear the sound of their laughter for years to come.
So although society may have some issues with the idea of leaving dads in charge, I know the truth is my children will never be in more capable hands then with their hands-on Dad.
Mom the Huntress