A Dad’s perspective
Hello all! This one’s a guest post to give Kim a break. She’s a busy person, so you are stuck with me for the moment. She’s actually busy being asleep with the kid in our bed because that’s how he’s chosen to sleep, and I’m ok with that.
This post is a bit about my role in the family and how I’ve learned to love it. Also, it’s a bit about #rambling because @blogging is the thing to do on the internet© these days.
Figure 1: BLOGGING = WINNING!!!!
SO, when I came to the dad table I can very much remember a few things about my knowledge of babies. Wait……that was kids, I knew things about kids. I had worked a lot with children in the past by coaching swim team, doing private swim lessons, and being that super friendly guy that talks to your kid at the playground about which lego sets they have right before they run off suddenly.
Figure 2: I LIKE PIKACHU AND MEGATRON KBYE!!!
Babies I didn’t really know much about. I knew the basics about them needing diapers and food and whatnot, but really I didn’t know all that much, and that’s ok. There are a lot of us out there in the same boat, and it’s really scary sometimes to think about all the things you don’t know. There is still plenty that I have to learn about infants. But there is one thing that I knew how to do already, and one thing that I will still continue to do, and that is be supportive of the mother/baby partnership.
Figure 3: New moms that hold their baby…….gain the power to glow (citation needed)
Recognize that there is something special going on between baby and mom that needs to happen, and that you need to help in any way possible. Now I didn’t say, back off and let new mom take control of all aspects of parenting. I’m talking about genuinely playing the supporting role of a partner in parenting.
What does this mean for dads?
To me, this means being willing to talk about things like breastfeeding, and being knowledgeable about the subject. I know this might be a strange topic for you to have thoughts on but you should study up! It’s actually a lot more complex a topic than you might think. I was for sure in the “doesn’t the mom just hold the baby up and it kinda does it or not?” camp. The answer is no by the way. I know this from observing, being willing to listen to what’s happening, and reading up on it. I went to classes with Kim, and enjoyed it, and I think you should also. There are other dads there and it’s not that scary, so do it because it’s important, and do it because it’s the role you need to play as support partner.
Figure 4: You too can master the ways of boobs.
But why does knowing about something like breastfeeding matter for me? I’m not the one that is going to be doing it, because I don’t have the right parts! Well, no you don’t, but it doesn’t matter. There is going to be a point where mom is going to be very tired after the initial high of having a baby. Then there is going to be a point where feeding your kid is going to become very real, and the mom/baby partnership might struggle to make it connect. THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN.
Figure 5: You....kinda
Being a supportive partner means you have the knowledge to know what is going on, and how you can help. You have the knowledge to effectively play the support role to its fullest and help mom/baby through the finish line when they stumble. This means not being a detracting voice that doesn’t know what is going on, and just says to forget it because mom looks like she is working “too hard” at it. This means being prepared with knowing the best ways to help, and that means knowing what’s actually happening between those two, body fluids and all!
This applies to most everything you are going to encounter with having an infant by the way. Mom and baby are going to have a lot going on in the bonding department, and it’s going to seem like sometimes you don’t have much of a role in it. You can trust me when I say that you have everything to do with it, and a really important job to do. Be present, be knowledgeable, and be supportive so that you can be the best partner they need to make it work.
Figure 6: You again. You look good, you been workin out?