You can’t feed the baby, but you can feed the mother

Why is it that new fathers, or not-so-new fathers for that matter, seem to think that their presence after the birth of  a baby is unimportant? They hang around for the first couple of days to bond and help, then go back to work – that much I get, you need to support the household – but after that their lives don’t change much. They work, go for drinks with their buddies, go fishing or golfing (both all day events) on their weekends or days off and can sleep off a hangover while their wives take care of the kids if they need.

Too often I’ve heard the lament, “it’s not like he can FEED the baby” while a young father is out with his friends, when they have made the choice to breastfeed. And I say “they have made the choice” because I would hope that both parents were  a part of that decision and are in agreement. But is being a father, or parent for that matter, just about feeding a baby? Only about taking care of basic needs for a newborn infant or a crabby toddler? I think they’re missing the mark.

Something that gets lost in the experience is the idea that both parents are a part of this new life. You BOTH have new responsibilities – and not just to this new, demanding, messy, sometimes cranky alien that has overtaken your house with all sorts of new-fangled furniture and entertainment options. You both have a new responsibility to each other, too. While it may be natural for the mother to be the caregiver to the baby, especially in a breastfeeding situation, it doesn’t seem natural for the father to be the caregiver to the mother at this time. Why is that?

While men cannot breastfeed, that much is true, they can still make the house run better and help to make the new mother more relaxed and happier. Putting that all together makes for a happier home and a happier marriage.Waiting until your wife finally loses it and becomes a crazy woman making “crazy demands” like time to take a shower ALONE, or to use the bathroom ALONE, is a sign that she needs you (and has needed you for some time) and you have been MIA. And you wonder why you don’t have sex anymore??

A new father could, and should, offer to stop at the store on the way home before leaving work to pick up basics (or even dinner) once in awhile. He could easily unload a dishwasher, washing machine or dryer – it’s not rocket science, now is it? Cooking breakfast (and cleaning up afterward) on the weekend is a treat for the stay-at-home mom who is most likely grabbing a bagel or toast in-between feedings and diaper changes. When you hear the phrase, “it’s the little things that count” this was coined for the stay-at-home mom. To say that “he can’t FEED the baby” is a cop-out that has worn out it’s welcome, and place, in today’s world.

Why do you think that we have books like “Porn for Women” showing men vacuuming and ironing, cooking and cleaning? Think about it.

One other point that I think many people seem to miss is the idea that most women these days were “somebody” before they began to have children. We’re not the same generation that graduated from high-school, got married and had our babies all before turning 25. We had jobs, careers even! We had friends, and plans on the weekends, too! We had an identity that was individual and made you love us in the first place. Motherhood can change a lot of that – sometimes for the better, sometimes not – but it doesn’t have to change it all. And you don’t want it to, because that leads to a long unhappy road that none of us want to drive down.

We all need to be “fed” sometime.

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