Father's Day is coming up (and we've got awesome gift ideas, crafts and more) and of course I will celebrate both my own dad and my husband. I also usually take a few moments to think about how I used to be my husband's own worst enemy when it came to our elder son. Like many Canadian women, I took the full 50-week combined maternity and parental leave. That was really the first time in our marriage that we had divided up the household responsibilities along such traditional lines. And you know that whole cultural thing about the "clueless dad?" I started to feel that way about my husband when it came to baby care. I think these things influenced me:
- I was projecting my fear of being a terrible parent on him
- I both resented that I was doing the breastfeeding and I had the magical secret weapon against fussy baby, all together
- I was spending hours and hours a day observing our baby and learning all the magical baby care tricks (hint: drop a baby washcloth over your boy's private area while changing) alone
- he was learning the baby tricks evenings and weekends with a crazed wife standing behind him saying "don't do it that way."
- the advice baby books give to let him be the expert at something, like the baby bath (here's how to accomplish that) is great. But go a bit further --
- it's great to create situations where your partner is solely responsible for the baby, without you. A baby swim class Saturday mornings turned out to be a great decision for us -- my husband would take our son off and I would sleep.
- unless something is happening that is likely to end in injury or permanent damage to something, let your spouse work it out. He will figure it out, or it won't matter.
- if you think about the grand scheme of things, a good relationship with a father is way more important than whether your baby tried apple or carrots first.