- Family and Parenting
The New Generation of Fathers
The Old Way Vs. The New
When I was pregnant this time around, I learned a valuable lesson: times have changed for men. My husband was laughed at for being obsessed with parenting books, what I did and what I ate. He had every intention of being in the room with me during the labor, and some older dads pointed out that he should do what every other man has done before: paced in the waiting room while I was in there with my mother or alone pushing out his child. Those were the old ways. Unfortunately for my husband, as well meaning as he was, the childbirth process was more gruesome than he anticipated and was sick for the entire time we were in the hospital as a result.
Embarrassingly by the time my new baby came into this world and although this was my second time through this process, my husband was more well versed in technical aspects than I was. He was fully informed on nursing techniques and how he was supposed to help: Moral support and making sure I ate and drank, especially drinking water while nursing. When my son had difficulties in every aspect of the latch, most of which were problems that couldn't be fixed, my husband went out alone after bringing myself and the baby home from the hospital to buy a pump to provide what he felt was the best for our child. He went a little crazy, buying out the baby section also. He brought home a diaper wipes warming, 2 bottle warmers (one for the kitchen and one with an attached cooler for the bedroom.), and laundry baskets for the little one. He also came home with a "post-partum" belly support, because the person in the store told him it was a great idea. He also had the awareness to get one of those hands-free bustiers for the pump. He also bought a "push prize" for me, because he read about it someplace and thought it was a great idea to thank me for bringing his child into the world. For the record it was a Razr Naga. (A gaming mouse with 12 side buttons.)
Even before the child came into this world, he acted much differently than previous generations have. He counted down the days until we were able to register for gifts for our shower. This was a moment he was dying for, and when we went he took control of the "scan gun" and went to town. He made his choices very deliberately, looking at every single item before settling on one and even looked on his phone for reviews. He was into this, which was no surprise for me since he was made for fatherhood. He had originally planned on having a co-ed shower, but the mothers decided tradition was key here and it would be a women only affair. They almost seemed angry and appalled at his suggestion. That wouldn't stop him from being there, and he was very much into the whole thing.
My husband is a very hands-on father. He's not afraid of diaper changes, mostly. He gets up when he needs to sleep for work to help if I need it, because that's more important of a job. He enjoys doing the bath routine, especially when they get to splash together. He loves feedings, and he mostly loves the pre-sleeping cuddle, where our little one enjoys to just sit while cuddles with his monkey blankie and talking until he randomly passes out. He juggles both children perfectly, and he never once says "but you're the woman" to me when it comes to taking care of the children. We still need to teach him how to dress the baby though, he hasn't quite developed that knack of putting clothes on a squirming baby. And his playing catch abilities with our start short stop needs some work too. But I suppose he can't be perfect.
Times have changed. There's a new type of male out there who wants to be active in their child's life. There's still a type that think that all he has to do is make a child and support it, if they even think they have to support it and that raising the child is all on the woman or "baby-makers" as they seem to treat them. But mostly, there's a new type coming in this world who want to be fathers for themselves, not for their wives. They want to be involved and knowledgeable. They are the ones that come home and immediately smile at the chaos, even if they had the worst day ever at work. They are the ones that try to cook dinner and fail miserably at it, but you love them just for trying. At least at that point, they realize they excel at steak and stick to that. Those are the ones that you marry.
Child Rearing, His Way.
While vacuuming for me, my husband was talking to our baby. He told him how fun vacuuming was, and look at all the stuff it picked up. The baby pointed and laughed at the vacuum. He found it to be hilarious. I chuckled at my husband. He looked at me with a serious face and said, "he needs to see me doing this. This is how he will learn that housework isn't all "woman's work". He understands something I've said all along here: you need to show your children how to behave, because they're going to learn by watching you anyways. This was his way of teaching behaviors by showing his beliefs and being a good influence on your the children. Children are sponges that watch their surroundings and learn from that on how to be as they grow. If we showed them bad examples and they grow up following that, we only have ourselves to blame. Not my husband, this was a lesson our boys need to learn.
He uses this principle in all his aspects of raising our children. He shows our older son to open doors and let the women go first. Now, my older son won't let me get into a car without opening the door. I admit it's adorable, but hearing him scream "no my job" as I'm entering into the car every time so I have to wait for him gets a little tiresome. The mix of traditional ideals and more modern ones is a good balance in the way he tries to teach the boys values. Because of him, I know at least 2 boys who will grow up with a positive attitude and a great addition to the community.